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Russia, India, China Fail to Heed Africa's Lessons on AIDS Orphans

As the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to claim lives, it also continues to create AIDS orphans. Since most of the deaths from the pandemic have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, most of the world’s AIDS orphans are there, too. But as HIV/AIDS spreads, the problems faced by Africa are now appearing in Russia, India and China.

One of those caring for AIDS orphans is the founder of the FXB Foundation, Albina du Boisrouvray. From Verbier, Switzerland, she spoke with English to Africa’s Joe De Capua about AIDS and AIDS orphans.

“I’ve been saying…for the past six years that it’s not just Africa that we’re all focusing on…but there’s also a danger of seeing a pandemic come up in India, China Russia…. So, six years later, what are we seeing? Well, we’re seeing in Russia a national problem of one percent, which is already a declared epidemic. We don’t know anything about the orphan situation. As for China, they’re getting worried because they’re starting to see AIDS orphans.”

As for India, where Ms. du Boisrouvray has spent much time of late, she says, “There are many, many AIDS orphans…you’re seeing a huge stigma against them.”

She says in India she’s talked with many children who’ve taken trains to leave rural areas to live in cities. A growing number of those children are saying they left their towns and villages because their parents have died. In Africa, communities often take in AIDS orphans, but in India, because of the ethnic and religious diversity in the communities that is more difficult. The children are not always accepted.

She says she’s upset because she and others have warned for years that Russia, China and India would go the way of Africa if little or no action were taken to stop HIV in those countries. India and China alone account for two billion people, or as the FXB founder puts it, “One third of humanity.”