Orphans and Vulnerable Children

January 20, 2017


Why does PEPFAR invest in orphans and vulnerable children?

Programs addressing orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are central to achieving an AIDS-free generation and preventing child deaths and vulnerability. Worldwide, over 13.4 million children are living without one or both parents due to AIDS. Millions more are increasingly vulnerable because their families suffer from the social and economic effects of living in high HIV prevalence communities. These children are at greater risk of infection. Children are incredibly resilient, but their ability to stay HIV-free is heavily influenced by their family, community, and country’s response to these risk factors.

How does PEPFAR invest in OVC?

PEPFAR is the world’s largest donor responding to the needs of OVC affected by HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR contributes 10 percent of all program funds to mitigate the physical, emotional, and economic impacts of HIV/AIDS on children and to reduce their vulnerability while increasing their resilience. Working with country partners, OVC programs mitigate adversity and strengthen services and systems that reach people in their households and communities by

  • Responding directly to the economic, educational, psychosocial, and protection needs of children and their families while ensuring access to quality health care services
  • Protecting children from HIV/AIDS and other risks to their development and well-being
  • Working directly with families, communities, national social service systems, health services, and governments to strengthen national capacity for OVC service delivery

OVC programs also play a central role in key PEPFAR initiatives, including the Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) Initiative – a two-year effort that enabled 562,000 children to receive life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) in nine sub-Saharan African countries – and the DREAMS Partnership – a public-private partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare to ensure that adolescent girls can grow up into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women.

What impact have PEPFAR OVC programs had?

In fiscal 2016, PEPFAR provided care and support for more than 6.4 million orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers worldwide. 

Global Facts

  • Over 13.4 million children are living without one or both parents due to AIDS.
  • About 95 percent of children directly affected by HIV/AIDS continue to live with their extended family.
  • More than 80 percent of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa.