Inter Press Service Examines Effects of HIV/AIDS Stigma on Children Orphaned by Epidemic in Trinidad, Tobago
The Inter Press Service on Tuesday examined how the "potent" stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in Trinidad and Tobago affects children who have lost parents to AIDS-related causes. According to official figures, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded more than 15,940 HIV/AIDS cases since 1983, with 73% of new cases among people ages 15 to 49. The HIV prevalence in Trinidad is 2.5%. According to the Inter Press Service, "a growing number of young people" living on the islands who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related complications are being "shunned by close relatives and friends." Amery Browne -- technical director of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee, which includes youth groups, business associations, regional and international agencies and several government ministries -- said, "Even grandparents, aunts and uncles seem very reluctant to step forward and say, '[T]his is my family member, I am going to continue caring to see about this individual's education, health and welfare.'" Social workers have reported an influx of children who have been abandoned to shelters across the country. According to Browne, the "sad irony" of the situation is that losing one or both parents to AIDS-related complications makes children more vulnerable to HIV (Inter Press Service, 4/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.