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Vulnerable Children

The term "Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)" is used to describe all children who are judged to be vulnerable and at risk, including children affected by poverty, conflict and HIV. The term has replaced terms such as "AIDS orphan", which can be misleading as it implies that children orphaned by AIDS are themselves HIV-positive.

Fast Facts: Children Orphaned by HIV/AIDS

15-million children orphaned by AIDS worldwide 11.6 million children are orphans in Africa Source:UNICEF— Childhood under threat: the state of the world's children 2005 and Avert's Worldwide HIV & AIDS Statistics
Traditionally the term "orphan" describes a child whose mother or both parents had died, but used in this way it tends to underestimate the total number of orphans or the impact of paternal death, especially within the context of the HIV epidemic. Thus, a more useful definition of an orphan is: a child under the age of 18 (some organisations use 15 instead) that has lost either one or both parents. Specifically, orphans can be:
  • Maternal orphans (mother has died)
  • Paternal orphans (father has died)
  • Double orphans (both parents have died)
According to the Until There's A Cure Foundation, the United Nations (UN) estimates that, currently, there are 14 million AIDS orphans and that by 2010 there will be 25 million. 11.6 million of these orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, millions of children live in households with sick and dying family members. Although not yet orphaned, these children are also severely affected by HIV and AIDS. The scale of the OVC problem is masked by the time lag between HIV infection and death. Even if all HIV infections were to stop today, it's likely that the number of orphans would continue to rise for at least the next 10 years.
Also see:Reporting on Children in the Context of HIV and AIDS and AIDS Orphans published on Avert
Wits Journalism Anova Health

The project is jointly managed by the Anova Health Institute and the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand. The project is funded by by the Health Communication Partnership based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centre for Communication Programmes and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief through the United States Agency for International Development under terms of Award No. JH/HESA-02-05 and through the Anova Health Institute through PEPFAR via USAID under Award No. AID-674-A-12-00015.