Those are the heart-stopping words on the January 17th cover of Newsweek magazine. The figure refers to the estimated number of

 children in Africa under the age of 15 who will have lost their mothers or both parents to AIDS by the end of this year. This is not the only tragic number that the HIV/AIDS crisis has given us...

* Every single day 8,500 children and young people around the world are infected with HIV.

* Every day 2,500 women die from AIDS.

* In 1998 alone, the number of women killed by HIV/AIDS was 900,000 - more than three times the death toll of the war in Bosnia.

"The scale of the orphan crisis is almost unimaginable," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "Before AIDS, about 2 per cent of all children in developing countries were orphans. By 1997, the figure had jumped to 7 per cent in many African countries - in some countries the figures run as high as 11 per cent." "Worse, the skyrocketing number of AIDS orphans is - in addition to the loss of life caused by AIDS - putting a severe strain on traditional support systems in Africa. The grandparents who in so many cases are taking care of their orphaned grandchildren have limited resources," Bellamy points out. "They cannot keep this up forever." The media has raised its voice to call for an end to the conspiracy of silence that surrounds the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We take great hope in the impact this can have for children in need. Please visit our web site at http://www.unicefusa.org/issues00/jan00/aids.html where you will find detailed information about UNICEF's efforts to help the children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and about how you can help. ___________________________________________

U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF We consider you a special part of the UNICEF family. Your desire to keep informed about UNICEF programs and your request to receive periodic e-mail messages about important UNICEF projects, sets you aside as a special advocate for children. As someone of great importance to us, we'd like to tell you about an important change. After more than 50 years of working for the survival, protection, and development of children as the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, we're beginning the new millennium with a new identity. On January 1 we became the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Our mission is the same: Saving Children's Lives, Building Children's Futures. We feel that this change more accurately reflects who we are and what we do. Your continued support, friendship, and involvement is critical to us. Please join us as we start the new year excited about the lifesaving accomplishments we can continue to achieve together.

On behalf of the children we serve, thank you!

United States Fund for UNICEF Saving Children's Lives

* Building Children's Futures ---