“The Haitian Government must apply a policy to guarantee care for AIDS orphans,” Jean Saurel Beaujour declared, Executive Secretary of the Association for National Solidarity (ASON).
He made this statement, in La Vallee, a village in South-East Haiti, immediately after visiting a relative of a girl of 12 years old, who is HIV-positive. Her mother and father have already died of AIDS.
“This little girl is forced to move to Port-au-Prince to live with another grand parent, because she is exposed to the prejudice and negligence of her guardian in La Vallee,” Jean-Julien Raymond said, who is in charge of the Club Cool of Jacmel.
“In Marigot, a village nearby, four children left behind by a father deceased of AIDS, are subject to the numerous prejudices of the community,” Jean-Julien Raymond confided.
“A policy to provide home care to AIDS orphans would be more efficient,” Begerl Chery suggested. He is the Activities Coordinator of ASON.
The ASON representatives suggested that the government raises the alarm and calls on all sectors responsible for information, training and education to provide support to the AIDS orphans.
At present, in Haiti, more than 150,000 orphans of AIDS struggle for their survival.
The rate of vertical transmission, this is from mother to child, averages around 30% in Haiti. Every two and a half hours, a seropositive baby is born in this country, according to a survey conducted by the “National Initiative for Research on a Vaccin against AIDS in Haiti (INAVAC/MSPP).”
In addition, at average, orphans whose parents have died of AIDS, run a higher risk to suffer insufficient growth. This is the case with 50% of the AIDS orphans in the world (“The progress of Nations 1999,” UNICEF).
“I know orphans living in Port-au-Prince who had to abandon school and return to Marigot, to be dependent on their grandparents, who more often than not, are unable to provide for their needs,” a notable of Marigot stated, when participating in a discussion conference held by ASON on 3 November, with the financial support of UNICEF.
“In general, AIDS orphans are delivered to domestic servitude or they increase the number of street children and prostitutes. Those tested HIV-negative at birth are inevitably exposed anew to HIV, through unprotected sexual relations,” people in charge of INAVAC/MSPP noted.
According to UNAIDS, presently, “the number of children with one of their parents being HIV-positive, is very much higher than the number of children who have already become orphans, a bad sign for the future.”