4. Reaching children and adolescents who are especially vulnerable
Among and within families affected by the HIV epidemic, there will be some children or families of children at particular risk of destitution and of HIV infection: urban families without the support of their extended families, families who for whatever reasons lack the support of their communities, children struggling to survive on the streets, children suffering sexual abuse within families, and others. For many of these young people, survival sex, sex in exchange for money, clothing, affection, shelter, food, etc., is a basic coping strategy.
Components of this programme element could include:
• Assistance to street children. Special strategies need to be developed to help children living on the street to have greater control over their lives, to have the means to avoid infection and to seek alternatives to the street. Street children and others living in marginal circumstances may not only be isolated from the wider community, they may be actively persecuted by it. Providing a broad range of measures to help increase their safety, health and well-being may help reduce their social marginalisation.
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