Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

18 Million AIDS Orphans Expected by 2010

Numbers Skyrocket in Africa, Asia -- Fall in Other Parts of the World
WebMD Health News

July 13, 2004 (Bangkok, Thailand) -- Fifteen million children have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.

And there's no end in sight: By 2010, 18.4 million children -- more than one in three orphans -- will have lost parents to AIDS, the reports states.

The distressing figures come at a time when scientists had expected a significant drop in the number of orphaned children worldwide, due to better health and nutrition, doctors tell WebMD.

"The orphan crisis is arguably the cruelest legacy of the AIDS pandemic," Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, told a press briefing at the XV International AIDS Conference. "This is a tidal wave."

American actor Richard Gere tells WebMD that like so many aspects of the HIV pandemic, the AIDS orphan crisis is spiraling out of control.

According to the new report, children in sub-Saharan Africa have been hardest hit; by 2010, there could be as many as 17 million youngsters under age 18 who have lost at least one parent to AIDS. The proportion of youngsters who have lost parents to AIDS rose from just less than 2% in 1990 to 28% in 2003.

Asia is yet another area that had been hard hit, Bellamy says. While the rates of HIV infection are much lower than in Africa, the sheer number of people living in Asia means that the total number of orphans reached 87.6 million in 2003, double sub-Sahara's 43.4 million.

"With 60% of the world's population, Asia could soon be faced with a serious orphan crisis unless it takes urgent steps to stop the epidemic in its tracks," says Peter Piot, MD, executive director of UNAIDS.

Meanwhile, in many other parts of the world, the number of orphaned children has declined by about one-tenth, largely because of better health care, the report states.

"The number of orphaned children would be falling worldwide if it was not for AIDS," Bellamy says. "But if the number of AIDS orphans continues this rise, it has the possibility of destabilizing societies quite dramatically."

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore