Nepal meet to plan for HIV hit children's future
May 8, 2007 - 1:20:39 PM

Kathmandu, May 8 - Under the aegis of the SAARC Secretariat and Unicef, experts and policy makers are taking part in a two-day meet here to plan for the future of over 10 million children affected by HIV/AIDS.

'When parents' HIV status becomes public knowledge, their children are likely to face exclusion, neglect, discrimination and abuse by relatives, communities at health centres and in schools,' said Frances Turner, deputy director of the Unicef Regional Office for South Asia -.

'Without proper support and policies in place, children vulnerable to or living with HIV face a bleak future: loss of their childhood and education, of family support and their inheritance and the likelihood of placement in orphanages and institutions - which should be the last resort.'

According to the consultative meet, which ends Tuesday, more than 10 million children in South Asia are estimated to be affected by HIV.

But the actual number facing an AIDS threat could be even higher, with either one parent being infected with HIV or both parents being dead.

The meet is reviewing the situation of children affected by HIV to come up with an action plan for governments, donors and NGOs.

It will focus on policies to ensure HIV/AIDS affected children are included in public and community support systems.

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