Children under 15 years of age account for one in six AIDS-related deaths worldwide and one in seven new HIV infections. Some 15 million children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS and countless become responsible for the care of their siblings and other family members. The vulnerability of these children represents part of a vicious circle: their circumstances put them at high risk for exploitation and abuse, and therefore exposure to HIV, and lack of access to health care, education and social support perpetuates the conditions of poverty.
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Children and HIV/AIDS is an issue or particular concern for African countries. While a variety of responses have been developed to support them and ensure respect for their rights, most recently, new and emerging evidence has shown the importance of social protection as an effective response to the needs of children and households affected by AIDS.
To address this issue, the IPU and UNICEF will organise a regional workshop on “Children and AIDS: The Social Protection Response”. The workshop will be held from 20 to 22 October 2010, hosted by the Parliament of Namibia.
The proposed workshop will aim at facilitating debate on ways and mechanisms of providing support to children directly and indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS. Particular attention will be placed on the need to scale up social protection systems as an effective response. Debates will also focus on parliamentary mechanisms and good practices to develop a comprehensive response to the needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Experience from various countries will be presented, and specific case studies addressed.