The Faces of Aids The photos viewed on this page are used courtesy of UNICEF and may not be reproduced. RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Five-year-old Alina holds her ballet slippers, at home in the western port city of Kaliningrad. Alina was abandoned by her father and severely neglected by her mother, a drug addict and alcoholic, who is ill with AIDS. After social services took custody of the child, her mother disappeared. Alina now lives with an older couple, Nina and Alexander, who have started proceedings to adopt her. Alina used to be sick frequently but has tested negative for HIV and is healthy now. She attends kindergarten and would like to become a ballet dancer. In 2004 in the Russian Federation, despite achievements for children that include a still-declining infant mortality rate, the country faces one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. HIV prevalence has increased 13 per cent since 2002, with the largest urban centres at greatest risk. The vast majority of HIV- positive cases are young people 15-30 years old. Initially concentrated among injecting drug users, sexual transmission of HIV is growing. Women now account for 33 per cent of all registered HIV/AIDS cases and the number of mother-to-child transmissions is growing exponentially. Many children who are born to HIV-positive mothers are abandoned. UNICEF supports a range of child welfare reform and other initiatives, especially for children in need of special protection. In pilot projects in the city of Kaliningrad, UNICEF assists projects offering social and medical care to HIV-affected children and their families. UNICEF also supports programmes to promote improved access for young people to health services, HIV/AIDS prevention information and safe spaces for learning and recreation. KENYA: Children stand outside the Stara Rescue Centre, where they attend school, during a visit by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte, in the Makina section of the Kibera shanty town in Nairobi, the capital. The Centre runs a feeding programme, offers schooling through Grade 4 and provides other services for vulnerable children. Eighty per cent of the Centre's children are orphans, many as a result of HIV/AIDS, and many of its caretakers are HIV-positive. Makina is the largest of nine villages that make up Kibera, home to an estimated 150,000 people. From 15 to 18 February 2004, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte visited Kenya to promote increased attention to recent achievements and challenges in the area of education. Urging all developing countries to abolish primary school fees, Mr. Belafonte lauded Kenya's elimination of these levies one year ago, in January 2003. This led to an increase in national primary-school enrolment: from 5.9 million to 7.2 million students. He also highlighted ongoing constraints, including severe overcrowding in classrooms (due to increased enrolment), a shortage of trained teachers, families' inability to pay for school uniforms or transportation, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Some 892,000 Kenyan children have been orphaned by the disease, and many others fail to start school or drop out to care for ailing family members. During his visit, Mr. Belafonte met with government and education officials and toured schools and other community projects. He also met with primary-school students, some of whom will be participating in a census to identify children in their communities who do not attend school. This nationwide census initiative will be launched on 16 June, the Day of the African Child.