Home truths: facing the facts on children, AIDS, and poverty
This report summarises the findings and recommendations of the Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS (JLICA). It argues that the global aids response has neglected “home truths” about children, AIDS, and poverty. Consequently, by acting on these truths now, governments and their partners can improve children’s outcomes and multiply the impact of investments in controlling AIDS.
The paper highlights that a new focus on children’s wellbeing in the context of AIDS and poverty can help move AIDS policy beyond the emergency response mode that has guided action to date. Therefore, the document suggests a number of policy directions for national governments:
- harness national social protection for vulnerable families as a critical lever to improve children’s outcomes in the context of HIV and AIDS
- provide benefits to families and children based on need, not on HIV or orphan status
- reinforce families’ long-term caring capacities as the basis of a sustainable response to children affected by HIV and AIDS
- strengthen community action in support of children affected by AIDS and ensure that community voices inform decision-making on all policies and programmes
- implement family-centred services integrating health, education, and social support
- redirect HIV prevention to redress the social and economic inequalities that increase girls’ and women’s vulnerability.
In addition, the authors recommend that governments should strengthen the evidence base on policies and programmes that work for children. However, support from international, national, and local partners is needed to create an environment in which governments can undertake innovative policies and state action can achieve full impact. Therefore, mobilising resources and broadening participation are essential.