Chapter 7: Providing access to education for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS: Orphans Against AIIDS
7. Providing access to education for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS: Orphans Against AIDS Scott Grinsell and Andrew Klaber INTRODUCTION Background HIV/AIDS1 remains one of our generation’s most widespread killers and most pressing public health concerns. The epidemic has tragically undermined individuals’ familial and economic security throughout the world, especially in developing and post-conflict nations. Children are often most adversely affected by the disease, leaving them faced with a multitude of challenges. According to the UNAIDS/World Health Organization’s 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, by the end of 2009, HIV/AIDS victims had left behind as many as 18.8 million ‘AIDS orphans.’2 As many as 17 million children under 18 years of age have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone3 – a number larger than the entire population of Greece – and this figure is expected to rise in the coming years.4 Children who live in households affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic face challenges regardless of whether they are orphans. Young people whose parents are living with AIDS have increased vulnerability because a parent’s illness often leads to a loss of family income, high medical expenses, and social stigma. Experiencing the death of a parent or guardian has significant consequences for a child, and this is all the more serious when such a person dies of AIDS due to the very nature of the disease. For example, a parent may transmit the virus to another parent unknowingly. The incapacitation or loss of one or both parents results in...
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