ORPHANS (孤儿) whose parents died of AIDS in Henan Province
have been given new hope. Last week the provincial government answered the
children's cries by promising 60 million yuan to improve schools,
orphanages (孤儿院) and living conditions. But without the efforts of Dr Gao
Yaojie, these cries may never have been heard.
"Although some of the children were born with HIV, 90 per cent of them were not infected (被感染) ," Gao said. "But people still reject (排斥) them. Many orphans change their names after finding a foster family (领养家庭) ."
The horror of Henan's AIDS problem became known in 1996. Frequent and unsafe blood-selling by poor farmers in the late 1980s and early 1990s had caused HIV to spread through dirty needles and infected blood use. As a doctor, Gao believed she should help: over the last eight years she has visited over 1,000 AIDS and HIV patients and published thousands of pamphlets on AIDS awareness. With her help, hundreds of orphans have returned to school or found foster families.
"It's a disaster for the whole nation, not only for those innocent (无辜的) patients and their families," she explained. Gao is delighted that so many childless families offer to foster orphans. But there is still much that can be done to support these children. "I hope that warm-hearted high school students will also reach out and offer a helping hand," she said.