Study Finds Less Reported HIV-related Stigma Against Orphans in Institutional Care

Date Published: Aug. 24, 2010

A group of researchers at the Center for Health Policyhave found greater acceptance of orphans and abandoned children (OAC) in institution-based care as opposed to community-based care, according to a study of 2,000 caregivers of OAC in five less wealthy nations.

The study found that 84% of institution-based caregivers compared to 66% of community-based caregivers said they would be willing to care for a relative with HIV. A similar disparity was evident for the proportion of caregivers who said they would be willing to let their child play with an HIV-infected child (81% vs. 64%).

These findings challenge recent policy statements that have recommended de-emphasizing institution-based care in favor of community-based care settings on the basis that better child care will result. Further research on the prevalence of HIV-related acceptance and stigma among caregivers and implications of such stigma for child development will be critical as the policy community responds to the global HIV/AIDS orphan crisis.

Authors of the paper published this month in BMC Public Health include Lynne Messer, Brian Pence, Kathryn Whetten, Rachel Whetten, Nathan Thielman, Karen O’Donnell, and Jan Ostermann.

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