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Summer camp brings hope to children with HIV (2)

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

13:27, August 31, 2012

According to some estimates, at the end of 2011, China had more than 8,000 people younger than 15 suffering from HIV/AIDS. Most got the disease via mother-to-child transmission or unsafe blood transfusions.

About 260,000 children in China had lost parents to AIDS by 2010. The figure stood at 76,000 in 2007.

"A significant number of AIDS-orphaned children, particularly those who are HIV-positive themselves, have been abandoned by their relatives and ended up in welfare homes," said Li.

Jiajia is one of them.

She lost her parents to AIDS and because her grandmother was too old to take care of her, she was sent by neighbors to Dele Home, which is run by an HIV/AIDS support group called AIDS Care China.

Life for the 8-year-old Along (also not his real name), who is also HIV-positive, was even harder before coming to Dele.

Two years ago, the shy boy with a tan and big eyes lived on his own for more than 20 days at a brick shanty in a small remote village in Guangxi.

He cooked and took baths on his own. A black dog he called Laohei was his only playmate.

"He didn't speak and had almost no facial expression when he got here. He didn't eat meat at first because previously he had only eaten vegetables and rice for a long time," Li said.

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