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Global Financial Crisis Fuels Need for Greater HIV and AIDS Assistance for Children

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Martha Newsome, director of World Vision International's Global Health and HIV & AIDS Hope Initiatives:

This World AIDS Day is being commemorated against the backdrop of a debilitating global financial crisis that threatens the livelihoods of vulnerable households and raises the need for greater interventions to protect children.

Existing responses to the pandemic - including assistance for the millions of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS - risk coming under pressure in an environment of constrained donor funding. As a Christian humanitarian agency responding to the needs of those affected by the pandemic, we are deeply concerned that help for these children is now threatened by declining economies.

Funding for child-focused projects comes from individuals, companies, governments and other organizations whose disposable incomes are now being eroded by the financial crisis. However, we appeal to donors to commit more rather than cut back at this critical time.

Millions of children in Africa and elsewhere already lack access to sufficient food, education and shelter because they have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Others rely on breadwinners who are too ill to provide for them, and others are living with HIV themselves.

As the financial crisis eats into domestic income, pitting medication against other necessities, the cost of anti-retroviral treatment is beyond the reach of many where the need is greatest. Meanwhile, food and transport costs are rising in many places, creating an even harsher impact for those affected by HIV.

These difficult times require commitment to ensure affected children receive the care they need. Funding and support for orphan care and protection, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and pediatric ARV treatments are needed now more than ever.

Even amid economic crisis, we must give special attention to children affected by the pandemic now or pay a grim price in the near future: a grievous loss of life, hope and potential.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to helping children, their families and communities reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice worldwide. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. World Vision has been addressing the AIDS crisis for nearly 20 years, with related programs in 60+ countries.

SOURCE World Vision International
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