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    Families take care. World AIDS Day.

    POPULI. 1995 Jan; 22(12):4.

    The theme of World AIDS Day, December 1, 1994, is "AIDS and the Family." It was chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) because 1994 is the International Year of the Family. According to WHO's Global Programme on AIDS (GPA), nearly 14 million persons were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1994. Families of persons infected with HIV face losses of income, care, nurturing, stability, and food, as well as emotional loss, when these people sicken and die. The GPA definition of family extends to "any group of people linked by feelings of trust, mutual support, and a common destiny. The concept need not be limited to ties of blood, marriage, sexual partnership, or adoption." All families should protect their members from HIV and care for those who fall ill. 700,000 children in Africa were born to HIV-positive women in 1993. These children will be orphaned or, if infected, die. Unless family members step forward to support these children, they will turn to prostitution to survive and spread the virus further. Almost 50% of newly infected adults are women (WHO). As the traditional care-givers, uninfected women are affected by HIV in the family. In some societies, women widowed by AIDS are rejected and stripped of their belongings. WHO Director General Hiroshi Nakajima states that compassionate families with bonds based on love, trust, nurture, and openness are best able to protect their family members and to care for and support those members who are infected with HIV. GPA Executive Director Michael Merson adds that youth learn about safe behavior and nondiscrimination in families.
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