When a mother dies of AIDS, basic needs of her children may be left unmet. To estimate the number and characteristics of maternal AIDS orphans in the United States, demographic techniques were applied to data from several sources. From the national HIV/AIDS surveillance system, reporting delays were adjusted for the number of deaths among women aged 15-44 diagnosed with AIDS through 1998 and reported as deceased by December 1999. No fertility was assumed in the year preceding death. To the adjusted number of deaths the annual age- and race-specific cumulative fertility and infant mortality rates from national vital statistics were applied. A perinatal infection rate of 25% was assumed among children born through 1994, and 10% among children born after 1994. Through 1998, 51,473 women died leaving 97,376 children motherless. Of the estimated 76,661-87,0018 uninfected children, 83% were younger than 21 years when orphaned. After increasing each year, the annual number of orphaned children younger than 21 years peaked in 1995. In 1998, between 4252-4489 uninfected youth were added to 47,863-54,025 existing orphans younger than age 21. Due to declines in AIDS deaths, the annual number of children orphaned by AIDS has declined. Nevertheless, each year thousands of youth are orphaned.
Received for publication January 22, 2001; accepted March 17, 2003.
From the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention—Surveillance and Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
Reprints: Lisa M. Lee, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention—Surveillance and Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS E-47, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30333 (e-mail: LMLee@cdc.gov).
© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.