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December 23, 1992

The 'Silent' Legacy of AIDSChildren Who Survive Their Parents and Siblings

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harlem Hospital Center (Drs Nicholas and Abrams), the Babies Hospital (Dr Nicholas), and the Incarnation Children's Center (Dr Nicholas), College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY.

JAMA. 1992;268(24):3478-3479. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490240086043

Over the past decade, efforts to improve the organization and provision of health care for families affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have focused primarily on infected individuals. However, from the start it has been clear that children who were or would be orphaned as a result of the epidemic would add unique complexities to the equation.

See also p 3456.

How many children have been or will be orphaned by the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic? In this issue of JAMA, Michaels and Levine1 estimate that 18 500 children and adolescents have already been orphaned. By 1996, this number will increase to 45 600 and by the year 2000 to 82 000 orphans. Additionally, tens of thousands of young adults will become motherless.

These estimates, which are similar to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates,2 are based on a set of reasonable assumptions