A Message from William Fleming, CCF HIV/AIDS Program Specialist for CCF
As we reflect on the recent World AIDS Day, we remember those we have lost to AIDS and the efforts to overcome this epidemic. CCF continues to recognize the contribution that children have made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
As a child focused organization, CCF is committed to helping children and families emerge from poverty. Children and youth make many direct and positive contributions in the struggle to overcome poverty, from strengthening the emotional and psychological resilience of other family members, to taking their future into their own hands.
Therefore, it is not surprising that children and youth are a vital part of CCF’s response to AIDS through:
Supporting HIV prevention and behavior change efforts
Providing emotional and social support for other children affected by HIV
Providing care for sick parents
Supporting their families economically through small businesses
Children and youth are also active in the design and evaluation of programs, helping to identify effective ways to reach children and youth in need and to share program successes and failures.
This active participation in HIV programming comes at a critical time when infections among youth are growing rapidly and the epidemic’s impact on children and youth is increasing. In the past two years, the number of people living with HIV increased in every region in the world, as did the number of deaths due to AIDS. With more than 33 million people living with HIV, new HIV infections are heavily concentrated among young people (15–24), accounting for 40% of new HIV infections in 2006. An estimated 2.3 million children under age 15 are HIV positive, 15.2 million have lost one or both parents to AIDS and millions more have become more vulnerable. The number of orphans created by the epidemic alone is expected to increase globally through 2025, representing a second wave of the epidemic.
In light of their vulnerability and resilience, CCF has compiled a four-part strategy for addressing the epidemic that emphasizes the role of children and youth.
In partnership with children and youth and their families and communities, CCF is committed to:
Expanding HIV prevention with a focus on youth reproductive health and prevention of pediatric infection
Realizing the continuum of care through improved community care systems
Meeting the needs of children affected by AIDS for health care, education, nutrition, and psychosocial support as well as enhanced protection from abuse and exploitation
Helping to create a supportive environment through advocacy and mobilization and increase community support for people living with and affected by AIDS
Together with children and youth as true partners, CCF is making a difference in poor communities around the world. It is important that we celebrate the efforts of children and youth in the fight against AIDS and recommit ourselves to addressing the root causes of poverty and vulnerability to HIV infection.