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AIDS orphans millions in Africa

LONDON, England -- More than 12 million children in sub-Saharan Africa have been orphaned by AIDS, according to a report published by Christian Aid.

Last year, more than two million people in Africa died from AIDS and 25.3 million are living with HIV or Aids.

The report, titled No Excuses and issued on Monday, warned that by 2010, 43 million children will have been orphaned by the virus and the economy of South Africa will be in shambles.

Mark Curtis, head of policy at the UK-based charity, said: "An entire generation is growing up without parents, without teachers, without a future."

Moreover, children are often orphaned two or three times as their parents die and they are placed with aunts, uncles and other relatives who also die from the disease.

Many youngsters are forced on to the streets and are growing up in "an emotional and spiritual vacuum," the charity said.

The report said that as adults, the orphans would not be equipped to drive the economic engine of Africa, making the struggle for development and growth on the continent more difficult.

Christian Aid said government aid to Africa needs to be doubled to tackle the crisis effectively.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank has said that developed countries should be contributing 0.7 percent of GNP by 2010.

Curtis said: "Words are not enough. It is time for rich-country governments to stump up or shut up."

Participants at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, in January said business leaders and governments should step up their efforts in the battle against AIDS.

Joseph Chamie, director of the U.N. population division, told CNN even if a cure was found, millions more would still die of AIDS because of the difficulties in delivering vaccines and drugs in underdeveloped countries.

Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for International Development at Harvard, said rich countries like the United States were failing to rise to the challenge of AIDS, providing just $78 million a year for it out of a $10 trillion economy.

"You can't fight the greatest pandemic for years without resources," Sachs said.

Africa seeks AIDS war chest
OAU chief calls for action at AIDS summit
Bush releases $200 million for global AIDS 'war chest'

European Union link on AIDS Fight
AIDS Foundation of South Africa

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