Unicef Logo and the text: Children Under Threat. The State of The World's Children 2005.

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©UNICEF/HQ97-0230/
Jeremy Horner



An enormous gap remains between what has been done and what needs to be done to protect the rights and address the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. At the end of 2003, for example, only 17 countries with generalized HIV/AIDS epidemics reported having a national policy for orphans and vulnerable children to guide strategic decision-making and resource allocation. Closing the gap is possible, but it will require the combined efforts of all those able to respond – governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and the thousands of community groups already struggling on the front line of response.

The lines of response to the plight of orphans and vulnerable children are clear – provided the international community has the political and economic will to pursue them:

  • Strengthen the protective environment for children at every level, from the family right through to the level of national and international legislation
  • Dedicate the funds to support programmes for orphans and vulnerable children, who currently receive only a small proportion of overall HIV/AIDS funding
  • Scale up projects for orphans and vulnerable children
  • Keep adults alive by increasing access to antiretroviral therapy and raising awareness of HIV/AIDs
  • Prevent new infections among children by applying and scaling up proven techniques and interventions
  • Eliminate school fees and other barriers to education
  • Combat poverty and conflict, which interact with HIV/AIDS to magnify the negative impact on childhood.

Click here for country examples.

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UNICEF’s work on HIV/AIDS [Web]

Facing the Future Together: Report of the Secretary-General's Task Force on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa [PDF]

Africa's Orphaned Generations [PDF]

Children on the Brink 2004: A joint report of new orphan estimates and a framework for action [PDF]

Fighting HIV/AIDS: Strategies for success 2002-2005 [PDF]


“I don’t think it’s an easy thing to get children into schools. Here in Iraq a lot of children have to work to support their families and through work they meet people who teach them bad things, even drugs.”
girl, 16, Iraq

Log on to www.unicef.org/voy


Total number of new HIV infections in 2003: 5 million; number among people under the age of 25: > 2.5 million.
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© UNICEF 2004