Orphans: The Second Wave of the AIDS Epidemic
Nancy Williamson, Family Health International
There are roughly 143 million orphans in 93 countries of the developing world--children and youth under age 18 whose mother, father or both parents have died. Of these, about 15 million are orphans due to AIDS; four-fifths of them live in Africa. World-wide, AIDS is the leading cause of death for people ages 15-49, the prime child bearing ages. If the increase in people infected by HIV is the first wave, the rise in deaths due to AIDS and the rise in the number of orphans can be considered the second wave. This paper addresses four questions: What is special about orphans due to AIDS? What are their greatest needs? What programmatic approaches seem to be most promising in reaching them? And what are some of the research priorities?