Rays of hope – children and AIDS in Africa

AIDS orphan painting
AIDS orphan painting

In many parts of Africa, the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS has become the main cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 45, in other words for those who are both sexually active and of child bearing age. In Africa, AIDS is primarily a heterosexual disease, and when one parent becomes infected, the other usually soon follows. During the first years of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, grandparents and the extended family were able to take care of the children who became orphans. But as the disease continues to spread, extended families are no longer able to cope. The result: abandoned babies, child-headed families and growing numbers of children in the streets of Africa’s cities.

Original broadcast: January 18, 1998