Support to Community-Based Volunteer Caregivers of Children Affected by HIV and AIDS
Swaziland has a population of 1 million and the highest prevalence of HIV in the world, with 26 percent of adults and 38 percent of pregnant women living with HIV. An important consequence of high HIV incidence is a growing number of orphans and vulnerable children, and could reach 250,000 by 2015. Orphans are children under 18 who have lost one or both parents. Orphans may be living with a parent who does not have a source of income because they are terminally ill or disabled or because of circumstances that render them unable to provide for their children. Orphans may be heads of households or living in a child-headed household. They are particularly vulnerable, having few resources to meet their basic needs, including food, and may be unable to pay school fees. While households and communities are struggling to meet the basic needs of these children, the extended family structure is eroded by poverty, urbanisation and HIV and AIDS. The consequences are a weakened family and community structure and a less protective environment for children, with increased incidence of neglect, violence, abuse and exploitation.