Monday, December 3, 2012

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day.

You can visit Project Hopeful to find out more about raising kids with HIV and learn the facts about treatment and transmission.

People with HIV/AIDS are not scary, and you will not contract HIV through casual contact. 

There are thousands of HIV+ children around the world in need of loving adoptive families. You can visit Reece's Rainbow, Project Hopeful, or Adoption-Link to learn more about adopting an HIV+ child. You can also visit Positively Adopted to read about families who have adopted children with HIV. Additionally, you may join the HIV Adoption Yahoo group that I started nearly 7 years ago. We have grown from five members to more than 700!
I do not identify on this blog which of my children has HIV. But we have been raising an HIV+ child for almost seven years now. I have seen people describe HIV as "an easy need." I think this can be both true and misleading. If you have a healthy child who is not seriously impacted emotionally by HIV, then yes, raising a child with HIV can be almost like raising an HIV- child. Most children with HIV who receive proper treatment do live healthy lives. However, it is important to remember that there are no guarantees, and even a relatively healthy child can have health issues that will impact him or her physically and emotionally. Additionally, as a child with HIV grows into the teen years and early adulthood, the emotional impact of HIV can become greater. I do not say this to discourage people from adopting a child with HIV; indeed, I am all for it! It's just a reminder that HIV is still a serious (if no longer imminently deadly) disease that can have long-term impacts on the children who grow up with it.

Did you know that people with HIV can play sports, hold jobs, attend college, get married, have children, and live long, healthy lives? Advances in treatment have changed the diagnosis of HIV from a "death sentence" to a chronic, manageable condition. Additionally, HIV has never been transmitted through the course of normal household contact. It's just not risky to have an HIV+ person in your family!

If your child's school has an HIV education unit, consider asking to preview the materials. Sadly, not all schools have current, unbiased information on HIV. You can help by making sure that the HIV education your community's children receive is accurate. If you find inaccuracies in the school's material, or even if you aren't sure of what you read, you can always contact your local AIDS service organization for assistance. Many ASO's have an education department or speaker's bureau that can connect you and the school to accurate information.

I will close by stating that, although we encountered some resistance by some family members when we announced our intention to adopt a child with HIV, it didn't take much time at all for even the most reluctant family member to come around after meeting our child. In the nearly seven years our child has been with us, we have had only one instance of discrimination, and that was by a relative-by-marriage and it was swiftly dealt with. Our family and our friends have been overwhelmingly supportive.

As always, if you have any questions about adopting or raising a child with HIV, please do not hesitate to contact me via the Email Me button in the upper right sidebar of my blog.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.

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