2010. 7 p.
Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 5: 2
The situation of millions of children whose lives continue to be blighted by the impacts of HIV/AIDS seems still to be 'under the radar' of national and global policymakers (Foster, 2005). Sub-Saharan Africa has two-thirds of all people living with HIV worldwide, but is home to over three-quarters of children orphaned by AIDS and to a staggering 91% of all new pediatric infections. Infants and children are considerably less likely to receive lifesaving antiretroviral treatment (ART) than adults (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 2009). Providing ART to adults has led to significant (80-90%) reductions in orphanhood and in child mortality among uninfected children of adults receiving ART (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 2008). Nevertheless, the number of affected children continues to rise. Despite their scale and scope, community contributions are frequently taken for granted. Understanding of the significant role of communities in HIV/AIDS responses has changed little in the past decade. Children affected by HIV/AIDS face problems that are largely invisible to outside agencies. In addition, the contributions by communities responding to children's distress are frequently neither acknowledged nor supported by governments, donors, and international agencies. Raising awareness of widespread community action is likely to be key to increased government and funder support, just as heightened visibility of the situation of people living with HIV contributed to the expansion of counseling, testing, and ART programs through expanded health sector responses.
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