Children Affected By HIV and AIDS

Children affected by HIV and AIDS

"Be ever watchful for the opportunity to shelter little children with the umbrella of your charity... For they in their innocence [are] the repositories of our hopes for the upward progress of humanity."

- Conrad N. Hilton
  Last will and testament


Worldwide, more than 16 million children under age 18 have lost one or both parents due to AIDS and millions more are indirectly affected because their families and communities are strained by other consequences of the epidemic.

Children affected by HIV and AIDS are less likely to have their basic needs met—they are less likely to be in school and are more likely than others to be sick or malnourished, suffer psychological trauma, endure abuse, and become HIV positive.

Although most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have national strategies in place to support children affected by HIV and AIDS, few programs are designed specifically to meet the special needs of children under five—an age group where children experience their most critical early development.


Creating an environment for successful early development enables children affected by HIV and AIDS to survive and thrive in the communities where they live.


The Foundation works to directly impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of young children affected by HIV and AIDS in high-prevalence regions by ensuring that they are better able to realize their full potential for cognitive, social, and physical development.

Research has concluded that the first five years are critical to a child’s ability to learn and gain life skills. Investments in essential services for young children affected by HIV and AIDS help create an environment for them to succeed, thereby providing them with the foundation to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Target countries for Children Affected by HIV and AIDS programOur approach to changing the lives of children affected by HIV and AIDS focuses on improving the ability and capacity of families and communities to promote their healthy development. This can best be done through assisting parents and caregivers, enhancing the ability of community-based organizations to deliver quality programs and services, and encouraging country-level and global stakeholders to leverage investments and resources. These strategies will ultimately offer more young children what they need to develop skills that lay the groundwork for success in learning and life. Our funding will concentrate on five priority countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Focusing on the young child

The Foundation’s funding for children affected by HIV and AIDS began with a grant totaling $1.18 million to CARE and Save the Children in 2009 to lead the development of an Essential Package, a set of guidelines and standards for development services and interventions for young children affected by HIV and AIDS. It was designed to reach AIDS-affected families at home, where the needs of the youngest children – most not yet in school – often fall between the cracks. This work defines central components of quality of care for orphans and vulnerable children and their families, while at the same time informing the global movement around standards development. The collaborative project also involved several partners and non-governmental organizations associated with The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, and is endorsed by more than 50 non-profits and UN and government agencies.

Foundation Strategy Documents