Obviously children orphaned due to AIDS is a huge issue that I think about. I don't yet know if my daughter will be a direct result of the AIDS crisis, but certainly her birth country of Ethiopia is profoundly devastated by this disease. I logged onto the Worlds AIDS Orphans Day website and found some staggering facts:
Number of AIDS Orphans:
- There are over 15 million children orphaned by AIDS around the world.
- Well over 12 million AIDS orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa, alone.
- Experts believe that millions more orphans remain unaccounted for in India, China and Russia.
- At least 10 million more children will be orphans by AIDS by 2010.
- In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, orphans are often subject to discrimination and are less likely to receive healthcare, education and other needed services.
- In HIV affected households lacking community support, food consumption can drop by 40% putting children at risk to hunger, malnutrition and stunting.
- Impoverished and often without support to educate and protect them, orphans and vulnerable children face increased risk of HIV infection.
- Orphans are often easy prey to many forms of exploitation: forced labor, prostitution and child soldiering.
- Fewer than 1 in 10 AIDS orphans receives any external support.
- US $4.6 billion is needed to implement a comprehensive response to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. Estimates suggest that less than US $0.5 billion is currently being invested.
- Only three countries – the US, UK and Ireland have earmarks providing at least 10% of HIV/AIDS funding to orphans and vulnerable children. Yet experts believe that these promises and legislation are unfulfilled as they meander through government bureaucracy