Changing China

Giant on the move

AIDS – The battle for life

December 2, 2009

China is struggling to keep HIV-positive children alive. The problem is especially serious in its rural areas where a combination of stigma and a lack of proper care and medication leaves these children with an uphill battle against the deadly virus.

 

Bubbly, cheerful and playful. When I first met these five children at around 7.30am in the morning, they greeted me with their warm smiles and hearty giggles.

It’s another day in the life of these children who have AIDS. They contracted AIDS from their parents who were infected when they sold blood in government-run blood selling schemes, mostly in the central Henan and Anhui provinces.

Beneath their smiles and giggles, lies the heart-breaking stories of their personal fight against AIDS. Some of them were abandoned in the streets, others simply given up by relatives who could not cope with caring for them anymore.

Here at an orphanage run by a local NGO, the Fuyang Aids Orphans Salvation Association, these children have been given a new lease of life and hope for the future. They are provided with food, lodging, education and proper medicines to help them in their fight to live.

But in the rural villages across China, difficulties are abound for Children with AIDS. They face an uphill battle against stigmatisation and a lack of proper medical care.

Some of them are refused proper education by schools concerned about their illness, while others are shunned by medical workers.

Despite these challenges, for me, the voices of these children are clear and should be heard by all of us. They have the right to live well and they are fighting hard for it.

Change is occuring for these children, albeit slowing. But there is hope for their future as China faces up to their moral responsibility to help these children live the life that they deserve.

To see the full Reuters report, click here.

Video credit: Royston Chan

Photo credit: Aly Song

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