Joint Report Details Escalating Global Orphans Crisis Due to AIDS
Number of Children Orphaned by AIDS Will Rise Dramatically
July 10, 2002
Barcelona -- A major international report released today finds that an already grim global orphan crisis is set to get much worse as more and more adults with children die from AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The report, Children on the Brink, calls for action at all levels to assist children, families and communities who are affected by the unprecedented emergency.
The report contains the broadest and most comprehensive statistics yet on the historical, current and projected number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It finds more than 13.4 million children have lost one or both parents to the epidemic in the three regions studied, a number that will increase to 25 million by 2010. In addition to the millions of children orphaned by AIDS, millions more are being adversely affected by the disease.
Children on the Brink was released at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, and is the third in a series (earlier versions were published in 1997 and 2000). For the first time, the report is being published jointly by USAID, UNAIDS and UNICEF, with estimates developed by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. In addition to providing statistics on orphans from 88 countries, it identifies several trends:
The new publication also discusses the devastating impact AIDS has had on children, families and communities, and the need for a coordinated response to address this. "HIV/AIDS has created an orphans crisis," said Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS. "This unprecedented crisis will require radically scaled-up national, regional and community responses in the decades to come."
Children on the Brink also discusses five key strategies to assist children affected by AIDS, and urges that responses not overlook other children who are impacted by the epidemic. "We must respond to these devastating statistics by addressing the needs and rights of both orphans and vulnerable children whose parents are still living," said Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. "Countries that have high rates of orphaning due to AIDS also have high levels of children seriously impacted by the epidemic, such as those with ill parents or living in households that have taken in orphans. They are often just as vulnerable."
At a press conference in Barcelona, programs that have successfully helped children were also discussed, and USAID distributed a summary of its 75 programs in 22 countries that work with children affected by AIDS. "Communities with a high proportion of orphans require urgent assistance," said Anne Peterson, USAID's assistant administrator for global health. "Responses need to be focused and scaled up in communities with high proportions of orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS. And communities with emerging orphan issues need to prepare now for the upcoming challenges."
USAID is the world's leader in providing funding to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Since 1986, it has provided over $2.3 billion for prevention, care and treatment programs in over 50 countries around the world. Information on USAID's HIV/AIDS programs is available at www.usaid.gov.
As the main advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.
UNICEF is the United Nations agency responsible for the rights and welfare of children, with offices in 161 countries worldwide. Because HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects the young, UNICEF has named HIV/AIDS one of its five key priorities for the coming years. The organization is concentrating its work in: prevention among young people, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and care and support for children impacted by the pandemic.
Children on the Brink is available at www.usaid.gov and at www.unaids.org/barcelona/presskit/childrenonthebrink.html.
For more information, please contact Gabrielle Bushman, USAID, US, (+1) 659 652 221 (mobile); Anne Winter, UNAIDS, Swiss, (+41 79) 213 4312 or Liza Barrie, UNICEF, US, (+1) 646 207 5178 (mobile).
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This article was provided by UNAIDS. Visit UNAIDS' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.