Kids & HIV/AIDS; Don't Hate – EDUCATE


jenna.jpgJenna Bush, daughter of the president of the United States, who has written a book chronicling the life of a young Latin American girl born HIV positive; also spoke briefly about the discrimination facing children living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. Inspired to write the book, entitled "Anna's Story; A Journey of Hope," following a UNICEF internship in Latin America and the Caribbean, it was the Jamaican response to HIV that seemed harshest, in all of the young Bush’s analogies.

Bush, 25, spoke of HIV positive children in Jamaica who told her they would never disclose their HIV status to anyone in their neighbourhood. The children's reason was a very real fear that someone in their village would stone them to death, she said. This speaks to the single most crippling aspect of HIV/AIDS; that is Stigma and Discrimination.

Talking about children with HIV/AIDS Jenna's book documents the life stories of the kids she encountered during her study/work experience. At a book signing session recently Jenna encouraged people to become mentors, teachers, tutors and volunteers for affected children in need of help and to educate themselves about the crucial issues facing children like, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and other like issues, the Tampa Tribune reported.

Intended to inspire and not depress, Jenna spoke of first encounter with Anna, who was like a typical American teen. Jenna told the Tribune, "I ignorantly thought she [Anna] would be scared and sad and would have trust issues. I didn't know she'd already gotten the help she needed and had talked about her problems. By the time I met her, she was incredibly positive. She said, 'This is the way God created my life. What is the point in being sad?"

Anna was not only HIV positive at birth, she was also sexually abused and became pregnant at age 16. Bush mentioned thinking, Ana would never have overcome the barriers in her life had it not been for real friends, mentors, educators and spiritual leaders.