Building resilience: a rights-based approach to children and HIV/AIDS in Africa
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Many children in Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to those who receive most media attention (i.e. orphans, child heads-of-household, and children living with HIV/AIDS), are affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and social instability. They include already vulnerable children, especially children with disabilities and children living outside of family care, as well as children living with chronically ill or disabled adults, children in homes that have become poorer as a result of fostering in children from the extended family, and children in communities suffering a high burden of illness, dependency, destitution, and death. In all of these situations, children?s health, economic and food security, family life, connections to social institutions, opportunities to learn, human rights to development, and hopes for the future, are threatened. A continuum of responses is needed to assist children living in communities affected by HIV/AIDS. At one end of the continuum, specific assistance must be provided for the relatively small number of extremely vulnerable children, including children with severe disabilities, abused children, children without adult support, and children living in and out of the streets; at the other end of the continuum, all children in AIDS-affected countries must have increased access to government-provided social protection in all sectors, including health, education, and welfare provision. Only in this way will the health and well-being of all children, including those made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, be improved.