HIV and AIDS have altered the context in which millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa are raised. Many are under the care of a widowed or ill parent, and others are residing with their extended family. Caregivers of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) face a variety of stressors that may adversely affect children. This study explores potential benefits of caregivers’ membership in support groups on their own psychosocial well-being, and on the treatment and psychosocial well-being of OVC aged 8–14 under their care.
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR’s) response to the millions of children impacted by HIV/AIDS was to designate 10% of its budget to securing their futures, making it the leading supporter of programs reaching orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) programs globally. This article describes the evolution of PEPFAR’s OVC response based on programmatic lessons learned and an ever growing understanding of the impacts of HIV/AIDS. In launching this international emergency effort and transitioning it toward sustainable local systems, PEPFAR helped establish both the technical content and the central importance of care and support for OVC as a necessary complement to biomedical efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.