Plight of Aids orphans

Aids-related deaths in South Africa: 1 874 519 at noon on August 16 2006

More than 15-million children in sub-Saharan Africa will have lost one or both parents to Aids by 2010, according to a United Nations report that says the world has failed youngsters affected by the pandemic.

The neglect of these children, who have been largely invisible, is a double betrayal because without parents they are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and far more likely to become HIV-positive themselves, says the joint report by Unicef, UNAids and the US Agency for International Development.

There are 2,3-million children with HIV, most born to mothers carrying the virus. Many of these children will die before they are two years old, according to Médécins sans Frontières (MSF), because drugs suitable for children have not been manufactured. MSF says pharmaceutical companies have not acted because few children in rich countries have HIV.

At the launch of the report at the International Aids conference in Toronto, Michel Sidibe of UNAids said children were ‘the missing face” of the pandemic.

‘By 2010, if nothing is done to quicken the pace of action … some countries in the most affected part of the world will have 15% to 20% of their children orphaned. Funding is extremely disappointing. Prevention and care programmes in low- and middle-income countries will require $15billion a year in 2007. Things can’t go on this way.”

Source: The Guardian

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