Economic strengthening and Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Asia: Role of Communities
The relatively low HIV prevalence region of South Asia faces a dilemma - child poverty is endemic, populations are large and the number of children who are vulnerable are considerably larger than the number who is affected by HIV. Targeting vulnerable children in high prevalence areas such as, sub Saharan Africa is an effective strategy to reach out to children who are affected by HIV, as they represent a large proportion of the vulnerable children population. In low prevalence high poverty situations, the same strategy of targeting all vulnerable children would greatly dilute the limited resources available for children affected by HIV. In high prevalence countries, where numbers of children affected by HIV are large, the program responses for children affected by HIV/AIDS are clearly towards impact mitigation. In the different context of low HIV prevalence countries, communities need to address the economic factors that are increasing children’s vulnerability to HIV. Community led economic efforts are towards HIV risk reduction rather than HIV impact mitigation. Many of these programs in recent years have added on HIV related issues in the communities they work, effectively addressing the economic needs (among others) of children affected by HIV/AIDS and their caregivers. 25 This paper, using a case study method will analyze these strategies and make program and policy recommendations, filling an important gap in our understanding of programming for children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Asia and by inference, in other regions of low prevalence.