Impacts of AIDS
Impact on Household
Loss of Income and Basic Necessities
AIDS takes a serious toll on the families because it means the loss of income. People infected with HIV are often forced to quit their jobs due to discrimination and illness. According to interviews in a 2002 UNICEF study in China, more than half of the people interviewed were forced to quit their jobs. Families struggle to pay for health care and funeral costs, which plunges them even deeper into poverty. Because AIDS claims people during the prime working years of their lives, the long period of illness and eventual death of a parent depletes the family’s income. The loss of a parent may mean the loss of basic necessities for the child: food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, etc. Children may be forced to work or beg on the streets for food and/or money. According to Avert, “Orphans are more likely than non-orphans to live in large, female-headed households where more people are dependent on fewer income earners” (“Aids Orphans). In more serious cases, the child can become the head of the household or end up on the streets.
Strain on Extended Families
When a child becomes an orphan, in most cases, the child is taken in by a relative.According to UNICEF’S 2004 Children on the Brink Report, in sub-Saharan Africa, “[C]aring practices in 40 countries…show that extended families have assumed responsibility for more than 90 percent of orphaned children.” Moreover, the families usually have a low income themselves. With the orphans moving into some of the poorest areas of the community, their overwhelming numbers only deepen the poverty of their relatives.
With the rising numbers of deaths due to AIDS, in many families, funerals have replaced weddings as the main family ceremony. Families are more likely to overspend their income due to medical costs and cut back spending on their children’s education. They are forced to borrow from others and sell their assets.