Efforts To Help Children Affected by HIV/AIDS Should Focus on Families, Report Says
Family mechanisms of support should become the focus of efforts to help children affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to a report released Tuesday by the Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS, AFP/Google.com reports. The study -- called "Home Truths: Facing the Facts on Children, AIDS and Poverty" -- calls on initiatives that aim to help the two million HIV-positive children worldwide, as well as the estimated 12 million AIDS orphans, to refocus their efforts on the family.
According to the report, campaigns to improve access to antiretroviral drugs have overshadowed a failure to help children affected by HIV/AIDS. Children do not have the same level of access to treatment compared with adults, and they also face challenges in education and discrimination, the report says, adding, "Families' effectiveness in absorbing the shocks of HIV and AIDS and other afflictions points to a crucial lesson: strong, capable families must be the foundation of any long-term response to children affected by AIDS." Building this foundation includes helping low-income families through "efficient and direct" programs, including child support grants and food distribution. The report says, "Families' unique advantages in nurturing children can operate only if families have a basic level of material resources." According to the report, placing children in orphanages can lead to poor outcomes and is more costly than placing children in the care of an extended family member (AFP/Google.com, 2/11).
The report is available online.