The rate of increase in HIV/AIDS is changing family structure wiping out middle generations of adults (breadwinner) leaving the aged and the young ones to take up responsibilities of support and care of their needs. The study examined this prevalence of increase in older carer and under-aged who have taking up responsibilities of meeting needs, in Benue State, Nigeria. The study revealed that about 21.82% of all children studied aged 14 years and below had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS and assumed the roles of parenthood. The modal class of older carers is 71 - 76 years and that of vulnerable children is 11 - 14 years old, respectively. Analysis revealed that 64.45% of the older carer group were classified poor and were living on $1 per day. Farming livelihood activity still constitutes a major income generating activities among the older carers and these categories in farming constitute the poorest (68%). Coping strategy adopted to augment shortfalls from farm income is selling off assets/properties among others. The study concluded that there is need to empower older carers on basic and simple entrepreneurial activities that can generate sustainable income and policy of streamlining the orphans into an effective care.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, impact assessment, livelihoods, older carer, orphans and vulnerable children, Benue State, Nigeria.
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