Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Photo #2 - The face of HIV/AIDS in Guyana

HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for adults in Guyana and one of the top killers of children under the age of 5.
An estimated 12,000 people - about 2 percent of the population in Guyana - are living with AIDS, a number that is expected to steadily increase.
Guyana has 4,200 AIDS orphans.
“Thousands of children in Guyana, either orphaned by AIDS or abandoned by their
families because of their overwhelming medical needs, suffer from choices and circumstances beyond their control. Most of these children have nowhere to turn.
The stigmatization they face, even when they aren’t infected but are simply orphans of
parents who died from AIDS, makes it almost impossible for them. They are shunned by neighbors and relatives, left to fend for themselves. Without hope of getting the medical care they need, the lives of children with AIDS in Guyana are short and painful. Not only do they suffer the debilitating physical effects of their condition, but they carry around deep psychological scars of abandonment and isolation. The prevalence of myths and fear surrounding the disease also keep perfectly healthy, disease-free AIDS orphans from living normal lives. They end up being semi-cared for by poor relatives or neighbors who treat them as outcasts.” Taken from Cross International


“HIV/AIDS has the potential to distort the very fabric of everyday life in
Guyana, with profound implications for both social and economic
development... Guyana’s AIDS orphans face an uncertain future and the
threat of exploitation, violence and abuse.”
A recent statement from the Government of Guyana’s National HIV/AIDS Programme

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