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In African countries that have already suffered severe pandemics, AIDS generates orphans so quickly that the family structures can no longer cope.
Families and communities can barely fend for themselves; let alone take care of orphans.
Typically, half of all the people with HIV become infected before the age of 25, developing AIDS and dying by the time they are 35, leaving behind a generation of children to be raised by their grandparents, or other adult relatives or left on their own in child-headed households.
The traditional systems of taking care of children who lose their parent(s) for whatever reason have been in place throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa.
But HIV and AIDS are eroding such practices by creating lager numbers of orphans than have ever been known before.
The demand for care and support is simply overwhelming in many areas.
HIV reduces the caring capacity of families and communities by deepening poverty, through medical and funeral costs.
About the authorRev Dr Gaefele Simon Mailula is a family therapist and senior pastor of Repairer of the Breach Church.
He has training qualifications and vast experience in the field of theology, hospital ministries, and family therapy.
He holds a Diploma in Theology, BA admin, BA in Bible Theology, BA Hons in Practical Theology, MA and PhD Famil
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