In statistics from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the term is used for a child whose mother has died due to AIDS before the child's 15th birthday, regardless of whether the father is still alive. As a result of this definition, one study estimated that 80% of all AIDS orphans still have one living parent.
Because AIDS affects mainly those who are sexually active, AIDS-related deaths are often people who are their family's primary wage earners. The resulting AIDS orphans frequently depend on the state for care and financial support, particularly in Africa.
The highest number of orphans due to AIDS alive in 2007 was in South Africa (although the definition of AIDS orphan in South African statistics includes children up to the age of 18 who have lost either biological parent). In 2005 the highest number of AIDS orphans as a percentage of all orphans was in Zimbabwe.
Izulu Orphan Projects in rural Zululand, KZN, feeds, clothes and educates 1750 of these rural HIV/Aids orphans on a daily basis. Their research has shown a slight decrease in affected families in the past three years, with indications that anti retrovirals are having a positive impact on this specific community, which is one of the most ravaged in the country. Their programme uses a web-based database system to geo-locate orphans, their affected family members and record both their income and health statistics on a regular basis.
- UNAIDS.org PDF
- Stuijt, Adriana (4 April 2009). "South Africa's 3,4-million Aids-orphans to get 'adult' rights".
- AIDS Orphan's Preventable Death Challenges Those Left Behind, by Tony Karon, 1 June 2001
- Project Aids Orphan
- "AIDS orphans". Avert. Archived from the original on 9 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- children count Government of South Africa
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