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AIDS orphans now number 15 million

AIDS orphans now number 15 million

A focus on HIV prevention and treatment in adults has created an "enormous gap" in funding for the care of AIDS orphans, who totaled 15 million worldwide by 2003, according to a report by UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, released Tuesday at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. "The orphan crisis is arguably the cruelest legacy of the AIDS pandemic," said Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF. The report, which defines orphans as children under age 18 who have lost at least one parent, said sub-Saharan Africa has been hardest hit by the crisis. By 2010 the region could have as many as 17 million AIDS orphans, according to the report. Children's groups have estimated a worldwide need of more than $10 billion a year to aid orphans and vulnerable children, said Paul Zeitz, executive director of Global AIDS Alliance. (AP)

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