Fifth World AIDS Orphans Day: Tens of “Circles of Hope” are created worldwide by young people to remind governments of the objectives set in 2001, when they signed the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.
Children orphaned by AIDS are just a fraction of the problem, as millions more have been made vulnerable. Behind the statistics are millions of stories of human suffering. The AIDS crisis has a catastrophic impact on households and communities – deepening poverty and exacerbating hardships. More than 95 percent of children affected by AIDS, including orphans, continue to live with their extended families. However, these families are increasingly overwhelmed by poverty and struggle to protect and raise the children in their care.
Despite progress in funding, preventing and treating AIDS, the world is ignoring the basic needs of millions of vulnerable children. Few resources are reaching the families and communities that provide the front-line response, even though they provide the vast majority of care and support to orphaned and vulnerable children. A generation will be lost if we do not take urgent measures to support the basic rights of children and the families and communities that care for them. We can fight AIDS if we organize a long-term response supported by a strong political will.