It has been a cliche that the children are our future. However, there has been an alarming phenomenon especially now that there are plenty of children, for the most part those in orphanages, who are affected with HIV/AIDS. This has been in an alarming stage especially in developing countries.
The epidemic that these developing countries are experiencing made it worse due to the treatment gap. This is very evident because of the inaccessibility of HIV-positive people for anti-retroviral therapy. And it is truly alarming especially for people who have kids that might also be infected with HIV/AIDS. These people undergo months and even years of depression and suffering until such time that they die.
It is a grave experience for children being an offspring of a person who have HIV. These children undergo psychological distress both before and after their parents’ death. Moreover, these children experience social exclusion and prejudice from the people surrounding them. Apparently, the stigmas that society poses towards these children are translated into denial from inheriting rights, access to health care and even to schooling.
The death of the parents of these children is the signal for a more severe disturbance that they will be experiencing. In many cases, these children will need an adult who is emotionally stable on whom they can confide to. It is a good thing that deep rooted-kinship system has been very prevalent in most developing countries. Obviously, most of these orphans are being adopted by their grandparents and even uncles and aunts. Although some of them have low income, they still manage to help these kids as a show of gratitude for their parents, who has also helped them in one way or another. But it doesn’t work that way all the time. There are still plenty of people who are looking at these orphans are a burden in the society.
In those countries where the epidemic of AIDS has gone wild, it is mostly girls who are taking the helm especially when it comes to supporting their family. This is very common in countries where child-headed households are extremely rampant. On the other hand, most orphaned boys usually end up on the streets where they survive drug peddling, stealing, begging or even working for menial tasks. In addition, if girls will also be on the streets, they usually end up as prostitutes. And as these scenarios increases, it also leads to a vicious cycle where AIDS orphans, especially girls, are placed in the position for greater risks of HIV contraction.
It is just so sad to know that the numbers of these AIDS orphans which are in need of support are increasingly alarming. And yet the response is not even close to the increasing needs.
What most countries and private individuals do to address the needs of AIDS orphans is to develop a type of welfare organization where they can have an avenue to tackle the economic, psychological, and social needs of the AIDS orphans. And the only way to fully realize such goal is to empower the caregivers of extended family who are not likely to be able to take in or adopt orphans.
Another way to take good care for these AIDS orphans aside from retaining them in the homes of extended family caregivers is to send them in orphanages or foster homes. But the only drawback for this one is that AIDS orphan might feel socially isolated. That is why it is still advised that these AIDS orphanages this establish and maintain the close ties that they have with their families as well as their communities.
On the other hand, it must not only be these AIDS orphans that must be given particularity in this picture. We must also consider that to help these AIDS orphans, the caregivers as well as the community that they are in are being educated properly regarding all the issues associated with HIV/AIDS. Of course, there are plenty of things to be tackled with regard to HIV/AIDS. There are those facts and the myths that must be abolished, the prevention and danger that HIV can bring to the society if left out from the light.
Obviously, the main reason for the breakout of the HIV/AIDS orphan crises is rooted from the adult deaths. It has been generated from the vicious cycle of keeping an eye to what is truly happening to these people especially in developing countries. And the only way to save another generation of children out from this cycle is to address the needs of the people who are dying now of HIV/AIDS. They must be well informed with the prevention that they can do on their end and most importantly the universal access by them for anti-retroviral therapy. And once these are achieved, we would no longer see a new generation of HIV/AIDS orphans.