• Africa;
  • orphans;
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome;
  • health status;
  • nutrition


The huge number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) orphans is an important feature of the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. There are few and conflicting data on the effects of being orphaned on health and nutrition in the highly affected HIV endemic areas of Africa. This study reports findings from a cross-sectional survey on associations between orphan status and health and nutrition parameters in young children of urban Uganda. A high prevalence of orphans was reported from a central Kampala community, with 41% being attributed to HIV/AIDS. Although there was a higher prevalence of self-reported morbidity in orphans than non-orphans, there were no differences in reported treatment seeking behaviour and measured anthropometric parameters. Hence it seems that the extended family system still manages to care for young orphans. Paying school fees for older children should be the primary target for HIV/AIDS impact mitigation programs in urban Uganda.