On December 1st, 2010, people came together across the world to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS by deseminating accurate information about the prevention and prevalence of HIV/AIDS. But what about the other 364 days each year? What about the orphans who are HIV positive? They have Project HOPEFUL.
Project HOPEFUL works to “educate, encourage and enable families adopting children with HIV/AIDS.” The acronym HOPEFUL stands for “Help Orphans and Parents Eliminate Further Unnecessary Loss… of time, dignity, and life.” Started by Carolyn Twietmeyer, the organization began an advocacy project in 2007. They advocated for a decrease in the amount of time it takes to get an immigration waver for adopted children from 3-9 months to a mere 10 days.
Prior to January 2010, adopted children with HIV were required to go through a far more lengthy immigration process than those who did not have the virus. Children with HIV/AIDS were facing discrimination before they even made it to the United States. While working to change the immigration waver process, Project HOPEFUL helped almost 200 children find families. The organization caught the eye of People Magazine and is featured in their Deceber 6th issue with a multi-page spread.
Project HOPEFUL works to encourage adoption of children with HIV by “spreading the TRUTH in PANDEMIC proportions, because NO child should perish for lack of knowledge.” They produced a video for World AIDS DAY which can be seen below. Nine of the kids featured in the video have HIV, two have AIDS.
Why do these orphans need our help?
- Each hour, 31 children die of AIDS due to lack of proper medical treatment.
- With proper medical treatment, children with HIV can live a normal life.
- Over 1,000 babies are born each day with HIV. Half of these children will die before their second birthday.
- HIV is considered a chronic but manageable disease.
- There are over 2.5 million children living with HIV/AIDS.
- There has never been a case of accidental transmission in a normal household setting.
- These children contracted HIV through birth or breastfeeding. This could have been prevented by inexpensive medications given to women in pregnancy and yet less than half of all HIV positive pregnant women have access to these medications.
What can you do to help?
- Adopt! More information is available on the Project HOPEFUL website
- Donate! Reece’s Rainbow has established grants for waiting children with HIV. All the children in the photo above have HIV and are available for adoption.