Friday, June 22, 2012

Information on HIV and adoption!

Our blog has gotten a lot of traffic (YAY!!)! so I thought now would be a good time to remind everyone that any and every donation matters. Even $2 or $3 dollars makes a huge difference. We appreciate every penny that is donated to help bring our daughter home.

I also wanted to answer some questions that I am sure a lot of people have. I am copying and pasting this from our other blog Hope for Sharon and Mayah. I hope it helps!

But isn’t HIV contagious? HIV is a very fragile virus, and there are very specific ways that it is transmitted. HIV is only transmitted when the virus enters the bloodstream. This only occurs through sexual contact; through the use of contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, or receiving a transfusion of HIV-infected blood products; and from a mother who is HIV-infected to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, and labor and delivery. HIV transmission does not occur with normal household contact. It is not transmitted through tears, saliva, mucous or other bodily fluids. The CDC does not even consider it a “communicable” disease. You can’t simply “catch” it. In addition, when an infected person is on treatment, the levels of HIV in the blood are brought so low that they are considered undetectable – meaning the possibility of transmission – even through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid – is that much more remote.

Aren’t these children going to die after their families bring them home? Many people don’t realize that the prognosis for children on treatment for their HIV is excellent. They are expected to live long, normal lives. In fact, in the west, HIV is now considered a chronic illness rather than the terminal disease it used to be. Sadly, this isn’t the case for those HIV infected children living in resource-poor settings, where 50% of infected and untreated children are not expected to live past the age of two.

Is it true that you can have HIV and not develop AIDS?
Absolutely! There are over 20 medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV, and more are in development. These medications bring the levels of the virus so low in the body that the virus can be considered undetectable in the bloodstream. Patients receiving treatment for HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives without developing AIDS.

What about all of the children who don’t get adopted? We recognize that adoption is only a band-aid answer. It is one small piece in a big puzzle – we seek to partner with organizations providing holistic, sustainable care for HIV+ orphans in-country.

What if I catch HIV from my child?
Many people don’t know that HIV is a very fragile virus. As soon as it leaves the body, it begins to die. There are no documented cases of HIV transmission through casual household or school contact. HIV+ children can (and do!) share cups, baths, pools, dishes, bathrooms, etc.! In addition, when children are on treatment for their HIV, the amount of the virus in their bloodstream can be brought so low that it is considered “undetectable” – meaning the amount of the virus in the blood, even through contact with blood, has been brought so low that the possibility of transmission has become even more remote.

What if no insurance company will cover my child?
Here’s the great news! It is a legal requirement that all adopted children be added to group insurance plans without pre-existing condition clauses in all 50 states! And many states also require that private insurance plans do the same! In addition, all 50 states have funding programs that will assist with the costs of HIV treatment within specified income guidelines.

For specific information on your state’s programs and insurance requirements, please contact Positively Orphaned at

Now for some heartbreaking statistics-

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.)

Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa

Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)

143,000,0002 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years3 in an orphanage or foster home

Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT4 of the system

Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT

Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home

In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18. 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.5 Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…

Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children arrarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a Million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 Million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home. They are totally vulnerable and easily fall prey to predators and slave recruiters.



There are no easy answers. I don't pretend there are, or that adoption solves everything. We need to address the issues that cause this crisis-poverty, lack of education, lack of health care, lack of support. We need to help families that would keep their children if they had support and resources. But we also need to go get those babies and children that have been left behind. If you can't adopt a child, you can still help. Support someone that is adopting, an organization that works to help orphans and mothers, or just help spread the word. Knowledge can change the world, and we can all do SOMETHING!!

Once your eyes have been opened to this tragedy it is impossible to close them again. Please don't turn away from these children. They desperately need your help.


  1. Kate,
    Could you research for me what we were told when we first set out to adopt about 8 years ago, and were considering an HIV positive child-that when it is a foreign adoption the child does not qualify for MEDICARE when they are older and retired, they must be on SSI or private insurance? We were told this by a number of medical/insurance people. It sounds like the laws have changed! (Yeah!) Our children do not qualify for Medicaid in our state as it considers the income of the parents alone, then SSI when they are 18 if we can prove they cannot work. As long as we had good insurance we knew they would be cared for, but if something changed that we had concerns. It changed our openness to adopting an HIV positive child.

    1. And I am STOKED that you would consider adopting a precious child with HIV. :) <3

  2. Your child is eligible for any benefits of an American born child. An adopted child can receive medicaid, ssi, medicare, etc. i will try to find you some links on it. This weekend is a bit insane with the fundraiser, but I KNOW this to be true. I spoke with someone on the phone about it from social security.

  3. This is such an amazing thing you are doing :)

    One but of information is outdated: the breast feeding info! Studies are now showing that breast milk blocks the transmission of the virus. Infants who contract it from their mothers get it another way than breast milk.

    1. Very true, Micki. There are stipulations to that though as well. Baby must be EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding. The protecting factors seem to diminish once solids are introduced! Thank you for pointing out to me that I needed to change that!

  4. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.