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Care for the Affected

The global death toll from AIDS is staggering, but another growing population is in dire need of attention: the children orphaned by AIDS. The current number of AIDS-orphans in the world today is 14 million and growing. Future projections claim this number can reach 40 million within the next several years. Yet, there are ways these children can be helped.

Counseling
Many children affected by the death of a parent can experience depression, low self-esteem, disturbed social behavior and poor life skills. Counseling children after the severe traumatic loss can help them function better and proceed to have a healthier and happier life. It's important to empower affected children and treat them as active social participants, rather than victims.

Child-lead Homes
Many children who are AIDS-orphaned have to take on the responsibilities of the parents in taking care of younger siblings and running the household. Support to orphans can come from the state obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Support comes in the form of free health care and education, food subsidies and financial support.

Support for Extended Families
Extended families take in many orphans, but the economic pressure becomes too much for them to bear in Third World economies. Most families are willing to help, but the financial support needs to be present. Many partnerships between governments, social groups and private-sector firms have created innovative ways to ease the financial burden.
Keeping Affected Children in School
Recent studies found that orphans who lost either one or both parents to AIDS have a much harder time staying in school. The trauma for these children is either too difficult to manage or they are discriminated against by their peers.

The majority of the children who drop out of school because of AIDS are girls. Girls take on the responsibility of caring for sick parents or their orphaned siblings at home.

Studies have shown rates of girls' education is a key indicator for a society's economic and social development. Because the AIDS epidemic keeps girls out of school, it also hinders the development of these societies.
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