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Helping children cope with HIV/AIDS

69% of all those living with HIV/AIDS can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. Children suffer the the worst, being forced into caregiving and employment when parents fall sick, and finding themselves alone when family members die.

Aids HIV AfricaSOS Children's Villages works in 45 African countries to give children affected by HIV/AIDS a better life. We prevent transmission by raising awareness, help affected families come to terms with HIV/AIDS through testing, counselling and treatment, support children living with terminally ill parents, and provide a new family for children who have lost everyone near to them.

You can help us provide care for a child left alone by AIDS by sponsoring an African child today:

Sponsor a child in Africa now

Or read on to find out more...

On this page:

What SOS Children's Villages is doing to help

Is there hope?

SOS mother and child from Tlokweng, Botswana

Yes. Sub-Saharan Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis is tragic, but it is not hopeless. We cannot eradicate HIV overnight, but we can provide families with the support they need to look after children, and to properly educate them so that the next generation is protected against this devastating virus.

Our approach

Our priority is to keep families together. Where possible, we do not move children from their familiar environments. Instead, we support whole communities so that they are better equipped to cope with HIV and support the children in their care.

Sometimes, children lose their parents and are unable to live with their families. When this happens, we provide a loving home in an SOS Children's Village. We run 102 Children's Villages in sub-Saharan Africa, providing care to over 11,500 children who would otherwise have no one.

How do we do it?

With four decades of experience in Africa and a presence in 45 countries on the continent, we are well-placed to support communities and care for individual children:

  • Of the 45 African countries where we work, 36 are located in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • We run 198 SOS Social and Medical Centres in sub-Saharan Africa, providing HIV support to communities.
  • HIV/AIDS awareness at our SOS Medical Centre in Bata, Equatorial GuineaWe help hundreds of thousands of children cope with HIV and its effects through HIV/AIDS programmes.
  • Our Children's Villages in sub-Saharan Africa provide a home for 11,500 children who have lost their parents, many due to HIV/AIDS.

We use the following methods to help reduce the spread of HIV and support those living with the condition:

  • Awareness and prevention: At all our SOS Social and Medical Centres, we work to prevent children from losing parents by preventing infection.
  • Testing and counselling: We offer HIV tests at all our SOS Social and Medical Centres, and provide counselling to those affected by the virus.
  • Tackling mother-to-child transmission: For HIV-positive mothers, we provide medication and encourage safe infant-feeding practices to protect infants from infection.
  • Antiretroviral treatment: Modern antiretrovirals are immensely successful in controlling HIV and limiting its progression to AIDS, but are inaccessible to many poor people. We provide free treatment.
  • Family care for orphans: Children orphaned or separated from their families by HIV/AIDS can find a loving home with an SOS family in an SOS Children's Village.

Two boys from Bissau, Guinea Bissau

How can I help?

The best way to help is to sponsor a child. This way, you can make a personal commitment to the life of a young person growing up in an SOS Children's Village.

The children in our care are among the most vulnerable. These children come to us because their parents have died or are unable to support them, and they have no family who can take care of them.

In sub-Saharan Africa, many of the children we care for have been orphaned or left alone by HIV/AIDS. We provide them with a loving home, an SOS family, and the care and devotion of an SOS mother.

You can choose the country where they live, and watch as they grow and thrive in a loving SOS family. Twice-yearly updates direct from your child's SOS Village will keep you up-to-date with their progress and development, so you can be happy that you are making a real and lasting difference.

Sponsor an African child now

Not ready to sponsor? Find out more about our work in Africa and learn about child sponsorship with SOS Children's Villages.

Alternatively, you can make a monthly donation to our work in communities affected by HIV/AIDS. This way, you can help us prevent more children losing their parents to this devastating disease.


Zimbabwean children: SOS Children works to help children in Zimbabwe in our three SOS Children’s Villages.