In the fight against HIV/AIDS, SOS Children's Villages works together with children and young people, local communities, other NGOs, and governments. AIDS is a preventable disease, and education is the key to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Over 14.9 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The disease has caused much suffering all over the world, with over 38.7 million people infected and living with HIV/AIDS. The people of Africa remain by far the most heavily affected. Almost 90% of all people with HIV live in Africa and more than 90% of all AIDS deaths take place in Africa, even though less than 15% of the world's population lives there. Halting and continuing to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS is one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
SOS Children’s Villages Joins the Fight in the 1990’s
As a global organization which protects and supports children who do not have adequate parental care, SOS Children’s Villages started to focus attention on dealing with HIV/AIDS in the 1990s as part of its mandate.
Every day, SOS is building awareness in communities in order to prevent new infections and also to address the toll this deadly disease has taken on children and families. SOS has adopted a six-objective framework for action against HIV/AIDS.
These objectives are:
- Awareness-building and prevention in all SOS Children's Village facilities
- Counseling and testing in our medical centers and social centers
- Preventing mother-to-child transmission through medical treatment and counseling
- Supporting households where children are living with infected parents
- Providing antiretroviral drugs for infected parents whose children are still living with them
- Providing long-term family based care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS
Information is Key: Education Protects Against Infection and Stigmatization
If children and young people are to choose a lifestyle which will protect them from the possibility of being infected with HIV, they must be given access to age-appropriate information and education on the disease. It is equally necessary to educate adults so they can continue to care for their children: with the appropriate medical, financial and psychological support, people who are HIV positive or living with AIDS can lead very active, engaged lives. SOS Children's Villages actively works against the stigmatization and exclusion of people on the grounds of HIV status.
Joining Forces with Communities and Families
SOS Children's Villages operates a large number of education, prevention and treatment programs through its SOS Medical Centers, SOS Social Centers and community-based projects. In collaboration with communities and local authorities, families receive support to build their capacity to protect and care for their children (e.g., income generation and parenting skills) and to gain access to essential services (e.g., education and medical care). SOS Medical Centers provide care, education on the prevention of the disease, and psychological support.