The Psychosocial Problems of Children with HIV/AIDS on Antiretroviral Treatment in South Africa

Introduction

Since the beginning of the Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in the late 1970s, more than 25 million deaths worldwide have occurred due to illnesses associated with the virus (UNAIDS/WHO, 2005). Of these deaths, many were children. More than half a million lives of children were claimed by the virus in 2005. Southern Africa remains the worst affected sub region in the world, and South Africa has, along with India, the highest number of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) worldwide. In 2005 there was an estimated number of 5.5 million people (18.8% of the adult population) living with HIV in South Africa. Unfortunately, South Africa’s AIDS epidemic – one of the worst in the world – shows no evidence of a decline (UNAIDS, 2006).

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