Children Orphaned by AIDS
- No other region has been as hard hit by HIV/AIDS as sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to nearly three-quarters of the worldwide population of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- In 1990, fewer than 1 million sub-Saharan African children under the age of 15 had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2001, 11 million in this age group were orphans due to HIV/AIDS.
- The orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa will worsen dramatically in the coming years. By 2010, there will be approximately 20 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS, bringing the total number of orphans in the region to 42 million.
- If not for HIV/AIDS, the number of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa would be decreasing. The percentage of the region’s orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS has grown from 3.5 percent in 1990 to 32 percent in 2001.
- By 2010, about half of all the orphans in sub-Saharan Africa will have become orphans because of HIV/AIDS. In 12 particularly hard-hit countries, more than two-thirds of the orphans will have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS.
- Eight out of every 10 children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDs live in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, about half of all orphans in the region are between 10-14 years old, 35 per cent are 5-9 years old, and about 15 per cent are 0-4.
- Extended families have assumed responsibility for more than 90 per cent of orphaned children.
- A survey in 2002 of four Zambian districts found that the average income of female-headed household with orphans was only around half that of male-headed households with orphans.
- A survey of four hundred households with orphans in the Mwanza region of the United Republic of Tanzania reported that almost 40 per cent could not cover even basic expenses. The most common difficulty was school fees, including those for materials and uniforms.
- In a survey of families affected by AIDS in two districts of Uganda, half the adults identified property-grabbing as a problem. One in four widows said they had lost property when their partner died, compared with one in fourteen widowers.
- In Zambia, nearly 60 per cent of a sample of orphaned children had been separated from their siblings; nearly four out of five saw their brothers and sisters less than once a month.
- At the close of 2003, of the 40 sub-Saharan countries with generalized epidemics (1 per cent or higher HIV prevalence in general adult population) only 6 (15 per cent) had a national policy on orphans and other vulnerable children. Another 26 have no policy in place.
For more information and to order B-roll, please contact:
Liza Barrie, UNICEF New York,
Senior Communication Adviser, HIV/AIDS
(1-212) 326-7593, (1-646) 207-5178; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF New York, HIV/AIDS
(646) 247 2975; email@example.com
Marc Vergara, UNICEF Geneva,
(41-22) 909 5718; firstname.lastname@example.org
Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Geneva,
(41-22) 909 5712; email@example.com
Madeline Eisner, UNICEF Nairobi,
(254-2) 622-214, (254-722)520-595;