Child South African AIDS Activist ‘Seriously Ill’
Eleven-year-old Nkosi Johnson, who in 1997 became well-known in South Africa when he and his foster mother fought the public school system's policy of disallowing HIV-positive students, is "seriously ill" the Associated Press reports. Johnson became internationally known as an AIDS activist last August when he spoke during the opening ceremony of the 13th International AIDS Conference. Along with his foster mother, he traveled to the United States last year to raise money for Nkosi's Haven, a shelter in Johannesburg that provides care for women with HIV and their children. One week ago, Johnson suffered convulsions that rendered him unconscious. He has since regained consciousness, but is not communicating. His outlook remains "very grim," Dr. Ashraf Coovadia of Coronation Hospital said. Last Friday, his foster mother, Gail Johnson, brought him home, where he is being cared for by home nurses to "make him more comfortable." In an interview with the Saturday Star, she said, "My wish is that he will recover enough so that we can have at least one more conversation. [It] doesn't look good. On the other hand, this child is such a fighter" (Loof, Associated Press, 1/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.