AIDS and the Family

Policy Options for a Crisis in Family Capital

image of AIDS and the Family

HIV and AIDS take a profound toll on families. When a family member becomes sick or dies, everyone in the family suffers. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS recognized the important role played by the family in prevention, care and support. This publication addresses the issues and challenges of HIV/AIDS from a family perspective, using information and data from sub-Saharan Africa.



Family living and arrangements of children

Children orphaned by AIDS have become a signature feature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the industrialized world the emotional appeal of orphans draws a wide constituency of advocacy for international solidarity and action. The immediate concern for these vulnerable children, currently and justifiably attracting policy and programme attention, is ultimately linked to the broader consequences of the epidemic for the family. To gain added insight into the role of the family in the acquisition and handling of the disease, and particularly in identifying causes, consequences and various cofactors, it is important to examine HIVIAIDS in the wider context of family living arrangements. Living arrangements constitute an important factor in the accumulation and expenditure of family capital. They identify the individual(s) providing resources for the members of a household, one or more of which may have HIVIAIDS, and are also indicative of the quality of care children are receiving. For the past decade the DHS, and more recently the MICS, have included a module on the living arrangements of children that indicates whether the parents are alive and with whom the children reside.


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