In Haiti, the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS grows
Here is the first thing to know about Haiti, the bare and brown western claw of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola: It is a nation of children.
Gray hair is getting harder and harder to find. Eight million people live here; four million are under age 14.
Too many of them are children without parents.
Today, a large slice of their generation - by some official accounts, 250,000 - has lost one parent or both to AIDS.
The global epidemic, now in its 25th year, has killed more than 400,000 people in Haiti. It has killed tens of thousands more throughout the Caribbean, steppingstone islands in Florida's backyard and one of the largest tourist playgrounds on Earth.
The number of children orphaned by AIDS will likely continue to grow. Experts see no end in sight. They voice concern: If things don't veer from their current path, Caribbean society, and the Caribbean economy that relies heavily on tourism, will suffer more.
Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere and sixth-poorest on Earth, has by far the region's highest rate of baby and child deaths, the highest rate of AIDS deaths, and the highest number of children orphaned by AIDS.
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