Impact of AIDS
Act now to ensure an AIDS-free generation
Globally, children under 15 account for 1 in 7 global AIDS-related deaths and new global HIV infections, while a young person aged 15–24 gets infected with HIV every 15 seconds. In Malaysia, an average of 10 people tested HIV-positive daily in 2010. Of the 91,362 people infected in Malaysia, almost 30% occur in people below the age of 29. 1 in 4 new reported cases of HIV in 2010 were between the age of 13 and 29 years old.
Impact of AIDS on children
Parent’s illness and death causes extreme psychosocial distress – worsened by stigma and shame attached to HIV and AIDS.
With parents unable to work, and savings spent on care, children could be asked to take on adult responsibilities of caring for the sick and supporting the family.
Education and Schooling
The pressure of earning and caring for parents and siblings can lead children to attend school infrequently or totally withdraw from school. The pressure to abandon schooling intensifies when one or both parents die.
Malnutrition and Illness
Children, especially orphans are more likely to be malnourished or fall ill and less likely to get care that they need. Poverty is the root cause, but neglect and discrimination by adults in whose care they have been left are also important factors.
Loss of Inheritance
Orphans are regularly cheated out of their inheritance.
Fear and Isolation
Dispossessed orphans may be forced out to unfamiliar and hostile places.
Increased Risk to HIV Infection
Impoverished and without parents to educate and protect them, orphans and affected children face abuse and risk, including possible HIV infection. Many are forced into exploitative and dangerous work – including exchanging sex for money; food; protection; and shelter.