Dr.Avnish Jolly: Orphanages for children of PLWHA should be opened so that they are relieved that their children will be look after once they are no more, these orphanages should no be labelled to save the children from discrimination or the state should increase the capacity of the existing orphanages as this will provide the children’s confidentiality. Support is most urgent for children in very poor situations who have lost one or both parents to HIV.
Orphaned children, especially if they are unsupported, are likely to be in vulnerable situations and therefore also at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV. Children who are not orphans are affected by theincreasing burden on adoptive families. All children are affected by the impact of the epidemic on the teaching and caring professions, the loss of those close to them and the grief this entails, and the loss of transfer of knowledge and community values from one generation to the next.
Unsupported girl children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. All children should be securely cared for within families and communities. Institutional care is a last resort. Community resources are overburdened, and support is essential if the psycho-social needs of affected children are to be addressed. For the most vulnerable children, those whose parents are infected with HIV, care and support needs to start before children are orphaned. They need help if they are caring for their parents and uninterrupted support when a parent dies. Support for children must be an integral part of programmes reaching parents with HIV/AIDS.
Care for orphaned children, whatever the cause of their parents’ death, should be streamlined to avoid creating additional stigma and discrimination.
Children infected by HIV are a minority of affected children but have special needs that are not currently being met. Care and support for such children should urgently be integrated into existing support systems for PLWHA.