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Orphaned by AIDS: Do we care for them?
In 2010, the number of children worldwide, who have lost one or both parents to AIDS is expected to be around 25 million; equivalent to the number of people living in New York, Paris, and Bangkok combined.
THE GOAL six of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to combat HIV/ AIDS by the year 2015. AIDS has become one of the key challenges for many developing countries as it has killed people directly and affected millions indirectly.
There are people who are either infected or affected by AIDS and there are people who are HIV positive. Apart from adults, children are also affected or infected by AIDS. Experts believe that millions more orphans remain unaccounted for in India, China and Russia.

Nearly 15 million children below age of 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, according to UN AIDS. The vast majority are in sub Saharan Africa. But though Africa is staggering under the load of AIDS orphans, it is not just an African problem.
In this regard India is also not an exception as there are orphans in India due to AIDS. Children who have lost one or both parents to HIV and AIDS are among the world's most vulnerable children. These children can not lobby or speak out to their governments or communities as their voices are less heard. Unlike others, these children can not influence or reach out to the policy makers. On the other hand gender discrimination makes girl child more vulnerable to HIV transmission and makes it harder for them to get care.

To address the issues related to AIDS orphanage an international organization named Francois Xavier Bagnoud(FXB) having its international head quarter at Switzerland has advocated for AIDS orphanage. One of their ideas has become an international day for AIDS orphan.
In 2002, May 7 was declared as the AIDS Orphans Day at the New York City. FXB came up with the concept of the World AIDS Orphans Day (WAOD) to draw the international communities' attention towards the plight of children orphaned by the HIV and AIDS epidemic as well as other children at risk. WAOD has sparked a growing movement which aims at influencing governments, private corporations, humanitarian organizations and individuals to respond to the plight of children orphaned by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. So far there are less programmes or international organizations that advocates for the AIDS orphans.

Though the issue of AIDS orphan is getting attention in some part of the world, ironically there are not much statistics about AIDS orphans in India. Due to this no specific programme is there for the AIDS orphans in India. It is important to know the numbers or status so that something can be done for the welfare of the AIDS orphans in our country. Women and children are among the worst – affected due to HIV and AIDS in India. There are various organisations working on this issue but it is hard to find organisations particularly addressing the AIDS orphans in India.

It is important for us to be aware of AIDS orphans so that we can also extend our support directly or indirectly for their welfare. We should ask the government to take up programmes for the welfare of the AIDS orphans. Most importantly the government must mention the number of the AIDS orphans so that different organisations can form programmes for the welfare for those children. It is always important for us to care for them but the big question is, do we really care for them?

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