Empowering children affected by HIV
Issues: How should laws and policies view children affected by HIV -should they be ‘protected’ or ‘empowered’?
Description: During the drafting of the HIV/AIDS Bill, extensive consultations were held; two of these focused on children - one with NGOs, the other with young people themselves who expressed concerns related to discrimination, being allowed to work, depression, ill-treatment by doctors, opening bank accounts, taking care of younger siblings and ensuring that they all stayed together. Most did not want to live in other homes and wanted a hostel to live with friends and siblings, be allowed to work and visit relatives. NGOs expressed concern about young people living on the streets or on their own who are not allowed to access healthcare services. The meetings revealed several good practices employed by NGOs on the ground in providing services to young persons. Despite the lack of legal clarity, several organizations have instituted foster care models to provide children with care and support.
Accordingly, the HIV/AIDS Bill provides for the protection of property of young persons, the recognition of the guardianship of older siblings and of NGOs and for living wills. It prohibits discrimination and provides for access to healthcare, HIV prevention and sexual assault services for young persons.
Full abstract online at the XVII International AIDS Conference site: http://www.aids2008.org/Pag/Abstracts.aspx?SID=316&AID=13599