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close this bookCall to Action for 'Children Left Behind' by AIDS: A plea for communities, governments, civil society, the private sector and international partners to vigorously address the plight of children who are affected by the AIDS epidemic (UNAIDS, 1999, 5 p.)
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View the documentBackground
View the documentCall to Action
View the documentConclusion


This Call for Action is a clarion call for a new vision of solidarity and partnership at all levels. The facts are self-evident: The human suffering brought on by AIDS will only continue to multiply. Even if the rate of new infections declines in the near future, the suffering will remain, and the proportion of children orphaned by the epidemic will continue to increase for decades. The recommended action to address problems and protect the rights of children and women must therefore be sustained over a very long time. Such action is not only morally imperative but economically sound.

The experiences of severely affected countries have made it clear that no single action can make a meaningful and lasting impact on the AIDS crisis. Nor can the governments of these countries, working on their own, ensure the well-being of their populations. Partnerships are key, as are increased resources, policy development, review and reform of laws, social mobilization and coordination among the various sectors of government, the private sector and civil society.

Equally crucial, there needs to be very close involvement of those most affected by the epidemic – children, families and communities – whose role in tackling this still unfolding tragedy will continue to be indispensable. Efforts must focus strongly on supporting families. When solutions are weighed against the best interests of the child, it will become ever more apparent that the family remains the primary cradle of care for children and their most cherished and valuable safety net.