Archive for the 'children' Category

08
Jan
08

A Young Man Learns to ‘Embrace’ His HIV Status

This article is part of the Washington Post’s “A Living HIV Quilt”.

Carl, a 19-year-old Prince George’s County resident, spoke with reporter Susan Levine about finding out that he was HIV-positive — and about his life after the diagnosis. Excerpts from that conversation:

I’ve now been diagnosed for two years. Well, not two years, going on two years. January 13th. I found out on January 13th, 2006. It was Friday the 13th. I never forget, Friday the 13th, what a horrible day to find out . . .

I do not know when or where I was infected. . . . All I can give is a time period, an estimated time period anywhere between the ages of 15 and 16.

If you are what they call an at-risk person, the average teen, you kind of know, you’ve got to know, you have a feeling, look, I’m doing certain things, I’m living a certain lifestyle that can be damaging in the future.

So kind of by the age of 17, I started thinking, you know, all my friends kept saying, we’re all gonna go get tested, and we should all get tested together, but I lived with a certain fear because, a fear of knowing. You know, I kind of said to myself, I think I might have it, but I’m not sure.

To me, at the time, at the time, not knowing was waaaay better than knowing. Because if I didn’t know, I did not have to deal with the pressures or, for lack of understanding at the time, you know, ending my life. You know, it was like a death thing, what I thought at the time.

I was very uneducated about the subject. You know, when things came up on TV about AIDS or HIV, when they talked about it in school, I kind of ran away from it. You know, cut the channel, cover my eyes, ’cause I was scared of, I was scared of the facts, I didn’t want to know the facts, I wanted to stay ignorant to the subject . . . because as long as I was ignorant to the subject, I thought, Okay, I’m fine.

That kept me sane. I’m thinking, If I don’t know anything about it, I’m fine. But if I knew what was going on, it made me feel more and more guilty about the things I was doing as a teenager.

I was afraid my mom was going to throw me out, she was going to disown me as her child. . . . I did not know what the outcomes could be, you know. We didn’t grow up with the best of relationships, so I didn’t know how she was going to feel if I was positive.

Click here for the rest of this article>>

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04
Jan
08

Young Sisters Join Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Seven-year-old Vineeta Hennessey and her five-year-old sister Sevilla are in the spotlight for a documentary called “Please Talk to Kids About AIDS”.

In it, experts and activists face questions that only a child would ask.

Vineeta asked, “How does AIDS get into your body?'” A doctor responds, “Well, AIDS gets into your body in ways that can be complicated to explain to little girls!”

That gets a laugh from the audience at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health.

But the girls also elicit frank responses from leading experts, such as prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett. She explains, “What’s sneaky about the AIDS virus is that, guess what it infects, what kinds of cells it goes inside of? The immune cells. So, the army you have inside of you to protect you is exactly where this virus goes….”

That sort of jargon-free language has drawn attention to the film. There is also praise for the way it breaks taboos about discussing sex. A doctor explains what a sex worker is. She says, “A sex worker is someone who gives sex services to another person in exchange for money…”

In spite of the film’s subject matter involving prostitution or condoms, the girls are supported by their parents — both international public health advocates.

The family’s efforts have won praise from a prominent figure, who appears in the film. Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and heads up all U.S. government-funded research into HIV/AIDS.

“To have children, in their innocence, ask those questions and really force people to give a straight answer to this, I think really exemplifies why we need to talk straight about HIV,” Dr. Fauci said.

The documentary’s young stars are promoting the film and discussing the answers they got.

Vineeta offering her reaction, says, “Some of them were real difficult — like sexual. I was like, ‘Whoa, what is that?'”

Sister Sevilla adds, “And like this sex worker, they…”  Vineeta interrupts, “Yes, she was, like, it’s not a real job!”

The sisters’ film has already attracted interest from various non-governmental and international organizations keen to use it as an educational tool in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

Source: VOA News

01
Jan
08

Pregnant Women in New Jersey must be tested for HIV

Washington Post reports that New Jersey this week launched one of the most ambitious efforts in the country to control mother-to-child transmission of HIV, making screening tests mandatory for all pregnant women in the state beginning next year.

A bill signed into law Wednesday by the Senate president, Richard J. Codey, in his capacity as acting governor, requires two tests for pregnant women, at the beginning of the pregnancy and again in the third trimester, unless the mother objects. If the mother objects, the objection will be noted and the newborn will then be tested for HIV, with the only exception being on religious grounds. Newborns will also be tested if the woman tests positive.

Just four other states have mandated testing for pregnant women, and three more– including New York — require screening of newborns. But New Jersey’s law appears to go further by requiring both.

The mandatory screening has raised privacy concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the state’s chapter of the National Organization for Women both questioned whether the mandated tests violate a woman’s right to privacy and the right to make her own medical decisions.

Riki E. Jacobs, executive director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, a New Jersey nonprofit helping people living with AIDS, said the law is unnecessary and comes when the state should be focused on expanding care for pregnant women. “I am adamantly opposed to this bill. New Jersey already reduced the perinatal rate of transmission with mandatory counseling of pregnant women,” she said. “The issue is getting those women who are not in prenatal care in for services and testing.

“I definitely think it is an invasion of privacy,” Jacobs said. She said women choose to test their babies in 98 percent of cases, so the new law’s mandatory provisions for testing children are not needed: “The fact that we assume women won’t choose to test is ludicrous and wrong.” Continue reading ‘Pregnant Women in New Jersey must be tested for HIV’

21
Oct
07

How HIV man became a proud dad

LIKE a lot of men, Perry Evans had always taken for granted that one day he would become a dad.

But at the young age of 24 his world came crashing down around him when doctors told him that he was HIV positive.

Perry, originally from Aberavon, Port Talbot, was a haemophiliac and had accidentally been infected with the virus by an NHS blood transfusion.

Not only did he think it would end his dreams of starting a family – but he thought he would have just a few years to live.

The 46-year old said: “When I found out I was HIV positive at the age of 24, I felt as if I’d been handed a death sentence.

“My future just disappeared – it was assumed I’d never have unprotected sex, never father children. Worst of all, I was told I’d only have another two to five years to live before dying a painful death.

“And in my head, those few years were going to be sexless and loveless.”

But rather than resigning himself to being ill, Perry put on a brave face and resolutely decided to make the best of his life.

He said: “It was actually my mum who took it hardest though.

“Because haemophilia is passed on maternally, she already felt guilty for my health problems.

“But I’ve always faced things head-on, and I quickly came to terms with it. What choice did I have? I realised HIV didn’t have to stop me living.”

Perry was keen to start a relationship, but was fully aware that a lot of girls might have been deterred by his illness.

But he soon fell for a woman called Heather, who was 22 at the time.

He said: “I dated a couple of girls, but because I’m a Christian sex was always something I was saving for marriage.

“It didn’t become an issue until I met Heather in 1987. I knew straight away she was special – that she could be the one. I told her about my HIV status on our second date.

“I would have been gutted if she’d turned round and said, ‘Sorry, I want a man who can give me kids,’ or didn’t want to know me because of the disease. But it was a risk I knew I had to take.”

Although Heather admits that she was hesitant to begin with, she also believed that the relationship was too special to pass by.

Perry said: “Thankfully for me, Heather was brilliant about it. She didn’t freak out, and she told me soon after I dropped the bombshell that she’d decided she wanted to give things a go.

“A year later, we were married. Thinking I only had five years, tops, to live, there was no point in us hanging round.

“Of course, I worried about leaving Heather a widow and taking away her chance of becoming a mum. But I figured she’d still be young enough to meet someone else after I’d gone.”

From the very beginning Perry and Heather were constantly told by doctors that they would never be able to have children.

But despite Perry’s deteriorating health, the couple were determined to give it a go. They had heard about a pioneering technique called ‘sperm washing’ that looked like it could give them the chance to be parents.

Perry said: “Before I got HIV, I’d always thought I’d be a dad. But it was something I’d learnt not to think about. And so when I heard about sperm washing, I was really excited.”

The process allows doctors to separate the male’s sperm from the HIV virus. The sperm is then injected into the female egg using artificial insemination.

But the couple were told that there was still a three to six per cent risk of either Heather or the baby contracting the disease.

Neither did – and the couple were blessed with not one but two children.

Perry said: “Luckily it worked, and in 2001 Isaac was born. It was overwhelming. Then, in 2005 we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Cerian.”

The couple, who now live in Worcestershire, will soon celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. And although they don’t know what’s around the corner, they are living each and every day to the full.

Perry said: “My kids are a ray of sunshine. I try not to waste a moment and spend as much time as I can with them.

“I’ve got liver disease now, and I know I won’t be around forever. But just being here, with a wonderful wife and two kids, is a miracle.”

andrew.dagnell@mediawales.co.uk

04
Sep
07

Alabama: HIV positive Caleb Glover gets to swim after all!!

We posted about lil Caleb being banned from an Alabama RV park serveral months ago, as well as news of the protest to follow..etc.  Many blessings and thanks go out from HIVAidsandMe to The Campaign to End Aids for organizing the Family Reunion Event!!!!!!  I think this was a wonderful demonstration of how education and understanding are key to bring people together to support and celebrate HIV positive people.  Here’s an article about the event.

AIDS activists visit Silverhill RV park
RV park proprietor hosts AIDS activists months after barring HIV-positive toddler from swimming pool
Tuesday, September 04, 2007By RYAN DEZEMBER

SILVERHILL, AL — In an effort to raise AIDS awareness, about 45 activists, most of them infected with the virus that causes the disease, traveled from locales as far-flung as Delaware, Dallas and San Diego to the Wales West Light Railway & RV Resort, where they had a Labor Day picnic.

Tucked off a rural highway east of Fish River, the resort was not chosen because of its visibility, but rather because two months ago, the 20-acre park made national news when a Saraland couple, Dick and Silvia Glover, accused the park of discriminating against their 2-year-old, HIV-positive foster son, Caleb.

The Glovers decided to vacation at Wales West in early July because the park features, among the amenities typical of an RV resort, a life-size replica of the small, coal-fired locomotives once used in Welsh mining. But when the couple tried to take their foster son for a swim, the park’s owner, Ken Zadnichek, told his employees to bar him from the pool and showers until he could confirm that there was no health hazard in letting the boy swim with other guests.

The Glovers promptly left the park for accommodations at another RV resort and called reporters.

Since then, Zadnichek has taken a lot of heat over that July day. Besides being the subject of reports on national television and radio, blogs and other online sounding boards have blasted the park owner.

“Everyone wants to call me the mean old guy that kicked the HIV baby out of the swimming pool, which is nuts,” Zadnichek said Monday before hosting a reporter on a train ride through his burgeoning 20-acre park. “We were concerned as much about what he would catch from the other kids as what they would get from him.”

The activists — most of whom are affiliated with the Campaign to End AIDS, a national network of people living with the disease — said in a news release that they originally intended to surprise Zadnichek, reserving several of the park’s 76 sites under the guise of a family reunion.

To hold an angry protest, however, wouldn’t have accomplished the activists’ aim of raising awareness about the disease and erasing the stigma faced by people living with AIDS and HIV, said Larry Bryant, an HIV-positive resident of Washington, D.C.

“It would have been oversimplifying to have an angry mob show up with pitchforks and torches,” Bryant said, adding that Zadnichek and his wife, Ann, had been helpful in arranging the activists’ stay.

“We’re glad to see them,” said Zadnichek, who is generally more keen to talk about the train he had built four years ago in England than he is about AIDS. “We don’t want to turn anyone away.”

Dick Glover, who suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, wasn’t able to make it Monday. But Sylvia Glover, who has been foster mother to more than 60 children, brought Caleb and other family members.

Caleb, now 3, finally went for that swim. However, possibly because of his appetite-ruining drug treatments, he wasn’t much interested in the barbecue or the celebration of his return to the resort. Instead, the skinny boy dressed in a diaper, T-shirt and plastic sunglasses spent much of the time he was being feted playing on a swing set.

30
Aug
07

Fish ponds are helping in the fight against AIDS

LIFE for Agnes Kanyema is looking up. The retired teacher and her husband are caring for four of their grandchildren, whose parents have all died of AIDS. Their meagre pension is not enough, so they rely on farming to eat and make ends meet. Now, with the help of WorldFish Centre, a non-profit outfit based in Malaysia, Mrs Kanyema also runs a fish pond, which not only provides extra cash and protein but also helps her grow maize and vegetables on her small plot of less than a hectare (2.47 acres). Her pond provides water for crops during droughts and she uses the sediment as fertiliser. The fish and vegetables help feed her family, and she sells the surplus at the local market.

The WorldFish Centre has helped 1,200 families who have lost breadwinners to AIDS to dig and run fish ponds in southern Malawi’s Zomba district. The small landlocked southern African country relies heavily on subsistence farming. But HIV/AIDS, erratic rains, overpopulation and soil erosion are taking a big toll, making it hard for farmers on tiny plots to survive. With Malawi’s main lake overfished, people are losing a big source of protein. In the 1970s they ate 14 kilos of fish per person a year; now they consume just four kilos.- Click here for more

26
Aug
07

HIV positive children thrown out of school in India

There have been a disturbing number of stories involving children and HIV discrimination in the news…all over the world…lately.  It’s a very very disturbing trend.  Here is another example.

Parents have demanded that a Baruipur primary school throw out children suspected to be HIV-
positive. The West Bengal Board of Primary Education has, however, stood its ground and refused to give in to
the demand.

The incident is a virtual repeat of an episode in a remote Kerala village, where HIV-positive children were ostracised by parents and their wards last year.

The vicious whisper campaign against the children was started about a fortnight ago by a local goon at Gobindapur village, 25 km from Kolkata. He incited some villagers into demanding the ouster of the students. These ‘HIV-positive’ students are residents of a home run by an NGO.

Things came to a head about a week ago, when some parents submitted a signed memorandum to the school authorities, demanding that the HIV-positive children be removed.

“We cannot allow our wards to study with HIV-positive kids. They are a threat and will infect our children. The school must throw them out, failing which we will withdraw our children,” the letter to the headmaster stated.

Visit The Times of India for the rest of this article