HIV/AIDS has devastating effects on African children, their families and their societies
HIV/AIDS has impacted severely on Africa. The infection rate has risen rapidly and the scale of prevalence is largely unabated. Moreover, the epidemic compounds existing problems that children and families face resulting from decades of exploitation, poverty, civil and regional conflict, and natural disasters. UNAIDS data indicates that Sub-Saharan Africa remains the hardest hit region in the world, with a total of 25 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
Orphans are not the only ones feeling the impact
Many children in Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to those who receive most media attention (i.e. orphans, child heads-of-household, and children living with HIV/AIDS), are affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and social instability. They include already vulnerable children, especially children with disabilities and children living outside of family care, as well as children living with chronically ill or disabled adults, children in homes that have become poorer as a result of fostering in children from the extended family, and children in communities suffering a high burden of illness, dependency, destitution, and death. In all of these situations, children’s health, economic and food security, family life, connections to social institutions, opportunities to learn, human rights to development, and hopes for the future, are threatened.