The children of adult sex workers, men who have sex with men, gay men and injecting drug users need particular support to prevent and respond to HIV and AIDS and to overcome acute stigma. These children face a double burden: both the affects of HIV and AIDS and entrenched exclusion by way of association with their parents.

Stigma against these children and their parents is leaving them without education, health or protection. General social and economic development programmes, including those tackling HIV and AIDS specifically, often do not reach these children. While targeted support for HIV-affected adults may be in place, invariably it is not designed to also address the needs of their children. The HIV sector needs to work with broader social and economic development sectors to ensure that these highly vulnerable children are supported.

Care for us and accept us - we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else - don't be afraid of us - we are all the same!
— Nkosi Johnson, South African child AIDS activist

Key reading:

  • Donor Policy Report: How much funding is going to children and adolescents, where, on what and what are the gaps?
  • COVID-19 Policy Briefing: Prioritising Children, Adolescents and Caregivers Affected by HIV in the COVID-19 response.
  • Harnessing Social Protection to Reach All Children highlights the winners of the Reaching All Children Challenge, which was launched by the Coalition and ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action in an effort to gather evidence demonstrating how social protection protects and supports vulnerable children and adolescents in testing, treatment, and care.
  • In conjunction with 10 other expert organizations, the Coalition recently completed a two-year project to define the specific issues and challenges experienced by children of key affected populations. A summary of our project findings are available in Making Children of Key Populations a Priority for Equitable Development.
  • The Coalition developed programming tool and guidance to assist care workers in managing ethical dilemmas when providing services to children and families of the most stigmatized and marginalized populations.

Learn more.