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Building a Bridge to Hope: Improving In-Country Care for Orphans Living with HIV/AIDS.

Together with Project Hopeful, the Adoption Center is working to develop a model to change the medical care & developmental trajectories of orphan children infected with HIV in low-income countries and drastically alter their life course outcomes.

Children infected with HIV in low-income environments have marginalized health and developmental outcomes. Most orphanage staff in Guatemala, Ukraine, and Uganda are healthcare untrained and often have fears about getting infected with HIV though everyday relationships and interactions. Hence, many orphans with HIV are placed in double jeopardy for child adversity: they don't receive the healthcare they need and are deprived of healthy relationships for lifelong healthy growth and development. Stigma and discrimination associated with HIV in an orphanage is as harmful as the viral illness itself.

As medical providers, we have seen the remarkable change in lifecourse HIV-infected children undergo when they are adopted from underserved orphanages by loving families. Realizing that only a tiny fraction of the HIV-infected orphans will experience the radical environmental intervention through adoption, we are committed to finding a way to reach those children who will face their entire childhood living in an orphanage without a family.

Our goal is to build the healthcare understanding of and reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV within existing partner orphanages in Ukraine, Guatemala, and Uganda. The first step is to educate local leaders who are change-makers in their communities on critical information about the appropriate healthcare and nurturing of a child with HIV. We will then work together to address issues of HIV comprehensive care and the importance of healthy relationships in several filmed 3-5 minute videos. These short videos will be used by community leaders to help their community (orphanages, schools, government officials, health clinics) appreciate the issues that orphan children face, learn new methods of applying proper healthcare techniques, and begin a local discussion about how best to care for these most vulnerable children.

If you would like to join us in helping children living with HIV in Guatemala, Ukraine and Uganda to grow and thrive, please consider supporting this project.

Check us out on Facebook to see photos of the faces we're supporting from our recent trip to Guatemala.

How to make a donation

Online: Visit the University Online Giving Site. Please indicate that your gift be directed to "Other" from the drop down list and to support "University of Chicago Adoption Center" in the Special Instructions field at the bottom of the page.

Phone or Email: Contact Amanda Guthrie (773-834-6821, ucac@uchicago.edu)