HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
An estimated 5.6million people were living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa in 2009, the highest number of people in any country. In the same year, it was estimated that 310,000 South Africans died of AIDS-related causes, reflecting the huge number of lives that the country has lost to AIDS over the last couple of decades.
CHILDREN AND HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
South Africa’s HIV and AIDS pandemic has had a devastating effect on the children of the country. There were an estimated 330,000 under 15’s living with HIV in 2009, a figure that has almost doubled since 2001. HIV in South Africa is transmitted predominantly through heterosexual sex, with mother-to-child transmission being the other main infection route. Because the virus is transmitted from the child’s mother in cases of mother-to-child transmission, the HIV-infected child is born into a family where the virus may have already had a sever impact on health, income, productivity and the ability to care for each other.
The age brackets that AIDS most heavily targets – younger adults – means it is not uncommon for one or more parents to die for AIDS while their offspring are young. The number of premature deaths due to HIV/AIDS has risen significantly over the last decades from 39% to 75% in 2010.
The loss of a parent not only has an immense emotional impact on children, but, for most families can spell financial hardship. One survey on HIV’s impact on households found that, ‘80% of the sample would lose more than half their per capita income and with the death of the highest income earner, suggesting a lingering and debilitating shock of death.”
ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN:
It is estimated there are over 2million AIDS orphans where one or both parents are deceased in South Africa, and that the HIV and AIDS pandemic is responsible for half of the country’s orphans. Another estimate puts the proportion of maternal orphans – those who have lost their mother – orphaned by AIDS as over 70%. Orphans may put pressure on older relatives who become their primary carers; they may have to relocate from their familiar neighbourhood and siblings may be split apart, all of which can harm their development. Child Headed Households are also very often the result of both parents passing away – the oldest child takes over the parenting responsibility, which is debilitating.
WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN DYING?
Despite global commitments to combat HIV and AIDS and to reduce child mortality, more than 1000 children continue to be newly infected with HIV every day and life-saving anti-retroviral treatment remains absent for the majority of children living in low-and middle-income areas…. more than half these children will die as a result of AIDS. In addition, millions more children every year are indirectly affected by the pandemic as a result of the death and suffering caused in their families and communities.
Preventing HIV infection, providing life prolonging treatment and relieving the impact of HIV and AIDS for children and their families and communities is possible. However, a lack of necessary investment and resources for adequate testing, anti-retroviral drugs, and prevention programmes, as well as stigma and discrimination, mean children continue to suffer the consequences of the pandemic.
WHAT SOUL OF AFRICA IS DOING TO LEAVE A LEGACY?
Soul Of Africa aims to lessen the impact of HIV on orphans and vulnerable children and youth through the sale of hand-stitched shoes. These shoes are hand-stitched by previously unemployed women in South Africa which in turn promotes local industry and creates self-sustainable employment in a country that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Profits from the shoe sales are donated to the Soul Of Africa Trust to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. Since 2005 Soul Of Africa has raised over $2million… ensuring children are able to survive beyond childhood.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
It’s as simple as buying a pair of shoes or making a donation on the Global Giving website!!!!! Visit our website have a look at the Soul Of Africa range or to follow more of our projects.
As South African President Jacob Zumu outlined in a landmark 2009 World AIDS Day speech, South Africa has had to overcome massive challenges in its past: “At another moment in our history, in another context, the liberation movement observed that the time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight! That time has now come in our struggle to overcome AIDS. Let us declare now, as we declared then, that we shall not submit!”
The figure below show the number of children (defined by UNAIDS as under-15’s) directly affected by HIV/AIDS:
LETS GIVE OUR CHILDREN MORE THAN HOPE… LET’S LEAVE THEM A LEGACY!
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