Internationally, the orphan crisis caused by the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) pandemic remains a serious issue with long-term social consequences. At the end of 2001, an estimated 14 million children worldwide had lost their mother or both parents to AIDS or related causes. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most severely affected, accounting for more than 80 percent of those orphaned as a result of AIDS. Without the care of parents or an appointed caregiver, children are likely to face extraordinary risks of malnutrition, poor health, inadequate schooling, migration, homelessness, and abuse. Strengthening existing family and community capacity to assist orphans in Africa should be the first priority. Community support must be coupled with support for education for orphans. Combining local and international responses to deliver protection and services to all orphans and vulnerable children is critical. In addition, saving the lives of parents through access to antiretroviral therapies in resource-poor countries in conjunction with bold support for alleviation of poverty and education must be an integral part of the global response to the orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)