Children find Refuge from HIV stigma in China

 

Children- who doesn’t love them?! The world would be a dull and colorless place without them.  But what about a place where children face stigma and disregard? It’s horrible to even imagine such a thing possible, but to our dismay, it is true. Children living with HIV confront discrimination every day, particularly in China. They are expelled from schools and villages for presenting a huge risk to others. HIV Advocates, a prominent voice against stigma and HIV/AIDS, advocates people living with HIV and fights for their rights.

Ms. Liu (L), the caretaker of the Green Harbor Red Ribbon School. Ms. Liu is also HIV positive and used to be a patient at the Green Harbor. She choose to not live with her husband and a young daughter to lives at the school and is in charged of all the 30 students at the school. Ms. Liu getting the third and fourth grader getting ready to catch a train to the capital city Beijing for the World Lunch Day on May 23, 2015 in Linfen, Shanxi provence, China. The World Lunch day is an fundraising and anti-discrimination event, where guests are invited to share lunch with HIV positive children. Photo by Ann Wang

Ms. Liu (L), the caretaker of the Green Harbor Red Ribbon School. Ms. Liu is also HIV positive and used to be a patient at the Green Harbor. She choose to not live with her husband and a young daughter to lives at the school and is in charged of all the 30 students at the school. Ms. Liu getting the third and fourth grader getting ready to catch a train to the capital city Beijing for the World Lunch Day on May 23, 2015 in Linfen, Shanxi provence, China. The World Lunch day is an fundraising and anti-discrimination event, where guests are invited to share lunch with HIV positive children. Photo by Ann Wang

The rates of social stigma and discrimination in China are high, children living with HIV are often left all alone. But where there’s darkness, kindness also dwells. A boarding school known as Green Harbor Red-Ribbon School in Linfen, China has provided refuge to many children living with HIV. The school, set up in 2006, houses up to 30 children from the ages between 6-19 years old. The level of awareness these children possess is mind-boggling. They fully comprehend their current situation and are well aware of how society perceives them. According to experts, the actual problem in China, is lack of awareness and education about the transmission and the effects of HIV.

But there’s also some good news. China’s leaders have made recent high-profile efforts to combat HIV prejudice in recent years, like stepping up free treatment for AIDS patients and measures to prevent mothers from passing on HIV to their newborn children. HIV Advocates promotes awareness as well as education and treatments in collaboration with human right movements to eliminate the global discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

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