Facts about children who are orphaned by AIDS.
1) More than 50 percent of all health care in Haiti is provided by the private voluntary sector, such as charities and churches.
-- Family Health International, 2006.2) "The thing about Rainbow House is, it's a model for the way things should be done. They have kids who are [HIV] positive alongside kids who are not. That is very important. But the orphanages in Haiti do not want [HIV] positive children because they fear they can't take care of them -- that they will spread to other children. So they won't take them. But Rainbow House is very limited in what they can do. They can only take, what -- 35 or 40 children? There's so many more. We could use many more institutions like that here, but we don't have them."
-- Dr. Rose Irene Verdier, leading pediatrician in Haiti
3) "Long-term institutional care in orphanages is particularly inappropriate for infants and young children. There are at least 200,000 children in such institutions in Haiti alone, and many are poorly run, unregulated warehouses."
-- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 2004.
4) "We wanted to help the children to dream, so that they had some kind of life in the future."
-- Danielle Reid Penette, founder/ director of La Maison de l'Arc en Ciel, Rainbow House
5) "Nobody is identifying the children who are infected, aside from Rainbow House. Nobody in the whole country. Nobody knows where they're at. Nobody. The numbers are at best guesswork."
-- Sylvana Nzirorera, AIDS specialist with UNICEF Haiti
6) "The lack of physical touch or continued isolation from a warm body also can stifle curiosity and interest, and cause emotional withdrawal, mental instability, fearfulness, and reduced learning ability. The child needs lots of touching, holding, emotional support, and love that usually only mothers in these societies have the time or inclination to provide. Even before the age of 2, children are sensitive to feelings of loss and stress in others and need reassurance."
-- UNAIDS, 2004.7) "Our estimates of 5 percent loss of incomes -- which is a huge number, by the way, for small countries -- is just based on rising health care costs to fight the epidemic. How do you measure the costs of a mother and father dying and leaving five children behind? The care they lose, the parenting, the loss of school, educational opportunities, the psychological costs? The criminal costs? Calculating those costs are very difficult, but they're huge, no doubt."
-- Karl Theodore, economist and director, Health Economics Unit, University of the West Indies.8) "There are huge consequences for Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean if we don't get this in check because these children are the future generation of workers for these countries. If they're not raised with education, the right nurturing, then the whole society will pay a price."
-- Dr. Peter Figueroa, chief of epidemiology and AIDS in the Jamaican Ministry of Health9) "You go out to some of these homes, and you want to help, but you don't know what you can do. The resources aren't there. I've been to quite a few homes where you have kids raising kids here. The mother and father are dead, and the oldest is just doing the work of the parents."
-- Novlet Dougherty-Reid, director of support services for Jamaica AIDS Support.10) Of 45,000 orphans in Jamaica, at least 5,000 were orphaned by AIDS. In 2002, it was estimated that rates of HIV infection could push the number of AIDS orphans to 50,000 by 2010.
-- Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF representative in Jamaica.11) In Trinidad and Tobago, about 28,000 people are living with HIV, but no one has an estimate of the number of children orphaned when parents die of AIDS. "We know there's a lot out there. You just have to look at the estimates . We know that about 75 percent [of infected people] are between 15 and 50, and many are parents. So you may assume two or three children for many women. And most don't even know they have it."
-- Hyacinthe Cross, manager of Cyril Ross Nursery, the only orphanage for HIV-positive children in Trinidad and Tobago.12) Guyana has 11,000 total AIDS cases and an estimated 4,200 children orphaned by AIDS. The majority of those infected are between the ages of 20 and 30,, the most economically active age group. There are no orphanages that specialize in children with HIV, but some religious homes will take children whose parents died of AIDS.
-- PEPFAR Guyana profile 2006, UNAIDS13) If a mother has HIV, her baby has about a 25 percent chance of carrying the virus without treatment. If the baby receives treatment immediately after birth, it has about a 2 percent chance of being HIV-positive.
-- World Health Organization, UNAIDS.14) "Stigma is still a big problem here. We've had national campaigns, but I still have been out to houses where people are even afraid to come out of the home because people in their neighborhoods are taunting them, yelling at them, trying to drive them out."
-- Asmita Chand, civil society coordinator with the Guyana HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control Project15) In Trinidad and Tobago, like many parts of the Caribbean, people fear knowing the results of HIV tests. They get tested but don't return for the results. And, many of those results are positive.
-- Dr. Amery Browne, technical director of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee in Trinidad and Tobago.16) AIDS is the primary force behind the global resurgence of tuberculosis. In the Caribbean, tuberculosis is now the number one killer of people living with HIV. It also has led to the rise of a powerful strain of drug-resistant TB. The Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in the world.
-- World Health Organization, Pan-American Health Organization, UNAIDS.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times