Paediatric HIV surveillance among infants and children less than 18 years of age
WHO/UNAIDS Working Group on Global HIV/AIDS and STI Surveillance
Global surveillance of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) is a joint effort of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/ AIDS (UNAIDS). The UNAIDS/WHO Working Group on Global HIV/AIDS and STI Surveillance, initiated in November 1996, is the main coordination and implementation mechanism for UNAIDS and WHO to compile the best information available and improve the quality of data needed for informed decision-making and planning at the national, regional and global levels.
Understanding the magnitude of the HIV epidemic is essential for planning, implementing and monitoring any program that attempts to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS. This is true for the paediatric HIV epidemic, for which prevention, care, and treatment efforts lag behind those implemented for adults.
Typically, the paediatric population is considered to be between 0 and 14 years of age. In this guide, we have included older children up to 18 years of age. In most countries, young people less than 18 years are considered minors. Often, modes of infection are different in adolescents than in younger children or infants.
This guideline provides approaches to measure the burden of paediatric HIV according to country-specific HIV epidemic contexts. It does not attempt to be comprehensive enough to cover all the issues related to paediatric HIV surveillance. Rather, it serves as a general reference. As “how-to” guides for surveillance data analysis and data use/dissemination are already available, such components will not be addressed in this guide. The guide cites additional materials and resources for further information on paediatric HIV surveillance and includes country examples.
Goal of this guideline
The overall goal of this guideline is to help countries understand the HIV epidemic in paediatric populations less than 18 years of age. Paediatric HIV surveillance can be conducted routinely, either as:
- specific, paediatric-focused activities, or
- essential components of broader surveillance efforts.