Orphans of the AIDS Epidemic? The Extent, Nature and Circumstances of Child-Headed Households in South Africa
February 9, 2010
Using data from several representative national surveys between 2000 and 2007, the authors examined the extent to which children orphaned by AIDS are living in child-headed households. They also explored trends in the number of children living in child-only households, and they characterize these children relative to children living in households with adults (mixed-generation households).
The study's findings indicate that the proportion of children in child-headed households is small, 0.47 percent in 2006, and does not appear to be increasing. Of children in child-only households, 92.1 percent have a living parent.
"The findings raise critical questions about the circumstances leading to the formation of child-only households and highlight that they cannot for the main part be ascribed to HIV orphaning," the authors wrote. "Nonetheless, the number of children living in this household form is not insignificant, and their circumstances, when compared with children in mixed-generation households, indicate a range of challenges, including greater economic vulnerability and inadequate service access.
"We argue that a solitary focus on the HIV epidemic and its related orphaning as the cause of child-only households masks other important issues for consideration in addressing their needs, and risks the development of inappropriate policies, programs, and interventions," the authors concluded.
01.10; Vol. 22; No. 1: P. 40-49; Helen Meintjes, Katharine Hall, Double-Hugh Marera, Andrew Boulle
Condom Failure Among Men Receiving Sexually Transmissible Infection Clinic Services, Cape Town, South Africa