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Issue Of AIDS Orphans In Asia Must Be Addressed Through Policy, Community-Based Responses

“The great number of AIDS orphans in Asia is one of the most serious consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic today,” César Chelala, an international public health consultant, writes in an Epoch Times opinion piece. “Although proportionally the number of AIDS orphans in Asia is much lower than in sub-Saharan Africa, in absolute numbers there are more orphans due to AIDS in Asia than in Africa,” he states, noting, “Children orphaned because of their parents’ death by AIDS are likely to be malnourished and unschooled, and are at greater risk of becoming HIV-infected themselves.” He continues, “Orphans due to HIV/AIDS are part of a much larger problem, since countries that have high rates of AIDS orphans also have a high number of children directly affected by the epidemic, and who are often just as vulnerable.”

“It is necessary to develop major educational campaigns to make adults more aware of the danger of the infection, not only to themselves, but also the risks it poses to their children,” Chelala continues, adding, “Orphan children’s special needs should also be addressed through community-based responses and by increasing the capacity of local orphanages.” He concludes, “It is critical not only to plan new government policies including legal, education, and labor frameworks, but also to create the conditions so that these policies will be implemented” (5/31).