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For every child, end AIDS

Protection, care, and support for children affected by HIV/AIDS

Social protection reduces adolescent HIV-risk, and improves ART-adherence and HIV outcomes among adolescents.

The facts

HIV and AIDS profoundly affect children at many levels. A child’s family and community can be hard struck by the effects of AIDS as parents get sick, are not able to work, or are not there to protect their children. The results of this can disrupt children’s lives and put their health and security at risk. As of 2015, 13.4 million children (0-17) lost one or both parents to AIDS and more than 80% of these children (10.9 million) live in sub-Saharan Africa.1,2  Children orphaned by AIDS are considered vulnerable - recent UNICEF research shows that factors such as poverty levels and access to education are also important indications of vulnerability.

1UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women, Dec. 2016
2For Every Child, End AIDS: Seventh Stocktaking Report, 2016


What is the response?

Economic support and social care are both important for reducing the impacts of HIV on children and families, new infections in adolescent girls, as well as for supporting the uptake of and retention in services. Social protection, care and support works at all levels – from local and community to national - to improve health, maintain continuity in education, prevent marginalisation through stigma and discrimination, and reinforce and support families in the face of poverty and illness. Social protection has the potential to play a key role in reducing an individual’s chance of becoming infected with HIV, improving treatment access and adherence, strengthening social networks, and reducing the likelihood that HIV will have a damaging effect on individuals, households and communities.

Over the past ten years, economic safety nets, which are inclusive of vulnerable households affected by HIV/AIDS, have expanded significantly, thereby catalysing broader social protection responses, such as cash transfers. There has also been an increased focus on strengthening the social services workforce at the lowest levels, to improve the capacity of care workers and social workers to ensure families and children affected by HIV and AIDS are being identified, supported, referred to services and provided social work to address violence, abuse and neglect.


1For Every Child, End AIDS: Seventh Stocktaking Report, 2016
2UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women. Protection, Care and Support for Children Affected by AIDS, Nov. 2016
3Cash Transfer as a Social Protection Intervention: Evidence from UNICEF Evaluations 2010-2014, June 2015



Cash Transfers

Cash transfers are regular stipends for ultra-poor and marginalized families and help families access basic services and maintain a healthy level of nutrition and a sense of dignity.

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