As the holidays approach, we naturally think of happy, healthy children. We think of children enjoying Christmas and looking forward to many more happy holidays to come. Unfortunately, there are some children who are afflicted with AIDS. I know this because one of them was the son of a drug-addicted mother who lived in a town in northern New York where I lived for several years. The mother would come into the free medical clinic located in the basement of the Episcopal parish; she had AIDS and unknowingly passed the virus to her child. A wonderful family, our neighbours, adopted the boy when he was three weeks old. Ten months later they found out he was HIV-positive.
All of us – straight, gay, male, female, adult and child – are threatened by HIV/AIDS. We may think that it could never affect us (I thought so too), but this isn’t true.
People who are living with AIDS need housing, emotional support, medical care, and the ability to live their lives with dignity. People with AIDS have many of the same dreams, hopes and plans that everyone else has. The parents of the young boy certainly had plans and dreams for their child, and still do. But those dreams would never be realized for their child died at the age of eight.
And yet in his brief life, the young boy touched so many lives – the medical professionals, teachers, friends and others who got to know and love him. He enriched our lives and taught us many lessons.
My hope is that this Christmas, people would look into their hearts, remember, and pray for all those who are affected and infected with HIV/AIDS, especially the innocent children.
Diocese of British Columbia