Children affected by HIV and AIDS need tailored, age-specific support that matches their evolving needs as they grow from birth into adulthood.
For example, the first 1000 days of life are a particularly vital window of opportunity in which the right stimulation, nutrition, medicine, care and nurturing can enable an infant exposed to and/or living with HIV to survive and thrive across their lifetime. Attention should be paid to issues of disclosure, stigma, gender, education, stimulation and response care, including play.
Similarly, young children need a nurturing family environment, early education on HIV to combat stigma and prevent infection later on, as well as age-appropriate medical care for those already infected with HIV. Achieving this will require the HIV sector working together with other development sectors to design joined-up programs of support that evolve with children as they grow, in what development practitioners call a “life-cycle approach.”
- In HIV & Early Childhood Development – New Frontiers, Coalition member, Linda Richter highlights key challenges in HIV-related child survival and early development.
- Several members of the Coalition contributed to a special issue of the journal, AIDS, focused entirely on early childhood development.
- Now more than ever! A need to reach the youngest children affected by HIV and AIDS was developed in order to help organizations integrate early childhood activities into their programming.