Vatican City (Fides Service) - Although AIDS is not longer a front page subject, in Italy there are thousands of new cases of HIV + persons every year. Italian children with HIV/AIDS (about 600) no longer die because they are treated with the new antiretroviral therapy but many in adolescence refuse treatment and rules of social life. This is because until recent years, families and society invested little on these children destined at the time to die: no schooling, group life, or socialisation. Even today their integration in society is still difficult.
Children and young people are most vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS virus. The causes are many, social and economic but the most serious are poverty, abuse, no access to information about HIV/AIDS and its prevention. In 2001 the world had 14 million AIDS orphans and the number may double by 2010; in 2001 there were 800,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS among children almost all transmitted mother to child. In 2002 about 11.8 million young people aged 15 and 24 mostly girls were infected. (AP) (3/4/2004 Agenzia Fides)