Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is one of the best known deadly diseases in the world, due to its devastating impact on communities, families, children and development. Worldwide, 34 million people are presently living with HIV/AIDS out of which 17 million are HIV/AIDS orphans. India is the home to the second largest number of HIV/AIDS orphans in the world after South Africa and is expected to become the next epicenter of HIV/AIDS orphan crises. A thorough review of published empirical studies was done. PubMed, PsycINFO databases, online publications of several organizations, web searches and several online journals related to HIV/AIDS were reviewed. Studies related to HIV/AIDS orphans belonging to the age group of 6 to 18 years, who had lost either or both parents to HIV/AIDS or were living with HIV/AIDS infected parents were selected for the purpose of review. Mental health status of HIV/AIDS orphans demands attention because they severely experience negative emotions, behavioral problems, higher levels of psychological difficulties and poor academic performances due to the reasons of being out-of-school, being cared for by a non-parent, inadequate care, child labour, physical abuse, stigma and discrimination. Majorities of the studies found lower level of Perceived Social Support (PSS) of HIV/AIDS orphans. HIV/AIDS orphans need help, we need to know how their mental health is at risk and how to develop prevention and intervention efforts for improving their mental health. Rigorous research is required in this field, so that the programmes and policies makers that are attempting to work for their wellbeing may get helpful information to design evidence based interventions.
Key words: Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) orphans, mental health, psychological distress, wellbeing.
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