Redefining "Vulnerable Child" in the Context of HIV/AIDS

Priscilla A. Idele, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Livia Montana, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chiho Suzuki, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Rachel Yates, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Patricia Lim Ah Ken, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Turgay Unalan, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Luong Y Nguyen, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Attila Hancioglu, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Although orphanhood and co-residence with a chronically ill or HIV-positive adult are frequently used as proxy markers of vulnerability for children affected by HIV and AIDS, evidence shows these are not robust measures of child vulnerability across national and epidemic contexts (Akwara et al, 2010). Data from 11 nationally representative household surveys were analyzed using multivariate methods to establish if these markers consistently identified children and adolescents with worse outcomes, net of other socio-demographic factors. The results indicate that orphanhood, child’s living arrangement, household wealth, and adult education are consistently associated with key outcomes in children. The presence of a chronically ill adult in the household almost made no difference in the odds of poor outcomes, after controlling for all other main analytical variables. The results of the analysis contributed to the redefinition of a vulnerable child in the context of HIV/AIDS and change in policy and programming guidance.

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Presented in Session 125: HIV/AIDS, Children, Youth and Families