Disclaimer: The following post has no direct relation to our adoption. We haven’t even discussed adopting a child with HIV/AIDS. Please don’t freak out on us. But the following information needs to be shared. And we have an avenue (this blog) to share it.
I think it goes without saying that since we made the decision to adopt, I’ve been following a lot of blogs of adoptive parents. Especially parents who have/are adopting overseas. I have a few favorite blogs, one of which is written by Natalie. Just within the last week Natalie posted over on her blog about HIV. What I read ASTOUNDED me. Sadly, I grew up believing the stigma that HIV is bad. Very, very bad. Up until a week ago I believed people when they told me we needed to stay far away from kids with HIV. To anyone who has HIV/AIDS: I’m so sorry I believed the lies. I’m sorry for the stigma our society has placed on you. To everyone who believes the stigma I used to believe: DON’T. I want to give you some facts about HIV. Together we can educate people and change how the world looks at these innocent children.
In 2009 the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a study titled Survey of Americans About HIV/AIDS which found that levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS has not increased in the US since 1987.. Let’s change that.
3.8 million Ethiopian children have lost one parent due to HIV/AIDS. Our future child might be an orphan because of HIV/AIDS. Did you know there are medicines out there that are so effective that HIV cannot be traced in the blood of someone infected? These medicines can help people infected with HIV to live normal, healthy lives. Yet those in Africa don’t have access to this medicine. It’s expensive.
HIV can ONLY transmitted through needles, sex, and breast milk/childbirth. And even then – if the person with the disease is being treated with proper medication – transmission doesn’t always occur.
HIV can NOT be transmitted through insects, saliva, sweat, tears, casual contact, sharing dishes, or kissing.
There are NO documented cases of HIV being transmitted through normal family/school/work life. The virus begins to die as soon as it leaves the body. This makes it nearly impossible to be transmitted even through blood.
We don’t need to fear these children. They’ve done nothing to deserve the stigma we have placed on them. Don’t avoid your neighbor with HIV. Don’t ignore the child at school with HIV. Don’t talk about it behind their backs. Don’t leave them as outcasts. Teach your family to practice the proper barrier method of wound care (which we should all do regardless of HIV), safe sex, and common sense (don’t share needles!) and there’s nothing at all to worry about.
For more info on HIV/AIDS visit Project Hopeful. Most of the facts I’ve used are from them. They’re legit.