Children affected by HIV/AIDS
Over 300,000 children in Thailand are estimated to be affected by HIV/AIDS. These children often live in poverty, have less access to essential services such as healthcare, nutritious meals and proper educational support. Many are stigmatized because of their mere association with someone, perhaps a parent, who has HIV. Many children affected by HIV/AIDS have been placed in institutions far from their families and relatives due to their status.
We work with national counterparts, including ministries, non-governmental organizations, civil society and advocacy groups, to ensure that Children affected by HIV and AIDS (CABA) and other vulnerable children living in communities with HIV prevalence enjoy the same standards of social acceptance, personal development and quality of life as other children.
Towards this end, UNICEF worked with the government and other local partners to raise over US$ 42 million from the Global Fund to support better programming for affected children. These funds will be used to increase access to essential child-focused services, including services specifically related to HIV prevention, care and treatment, for vulnerable children up to the age of 18. This will be achieved by strengthening social protection mechanisms in coordination with existing health and community systems.
Specifically, UNICEF will support relevant ministries and Global Fund recipient partners to work towards:
1. Strengthened and coordinated policies and systems that integrate child-sensitive HIV-related health care, community involvement and social protection in support of quality service delivery. This will include promoting improved continuity of HIV-related care for children affected by HIV and AIDS and their families through a case management system that includes clinics and communities. Partners will work towards integrating psychosocial support into healthcare services and support programmes, building on successful models that have already been developed, which will help decrease stigma and discrimination and result in improved health outcomes. UNICEF will also work with relevant ministries to develop and implement a national strategy on alternative care for children who cannot be cared for by their biological parents, and provide financial support that will allow for children to be cared for by families or in family-like settings.
2. Equal and universal access to high quality, gender-responsive essential health and social services will be provided for affected children, as well as for other vulnerable and marginalized children. This will include supporting partners to build the capacity of parents and caretakers to provide psychosocial support for HIV-infected/affected children and adolescents.
3. Increased social acceptance and inclusion for adults and children infected and affected by HIV, as well as for those marginalized due to other causes, will be promoted. This will be done through greater interpersonal contact at the community level, and through community education and public campaigns carried out by local and national media.