Actress Marlee Matlin Works to Draw Awareness to Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
Actress Marlee Matlin has teamed up with the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation to "make life better for children" who are either HIV-positive or who have a family member with HIV, Spotlight Health/USA Today reports. Matlin, who won an Oscar for her performance in the film "Children of a Lesser God," said she hopes to "bring attention to the problem" of children whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS. To this end, Matlin, along with the cartoon dog Blue from the Nickelodeon show "Blue's Clues," recently hosted a CAAF breakfast in Pasadena, Calif. "The disease wreaks havoc with people of all ages, but when I first began to learn just how uniquely it affects children -- both those with the disease and those kids who have family members with AIDS -- it was a real eye-opener," she said. Joe Cristina, founder and chair of CAAF, added that children affected by HIV/AIDS often face "unique challenges" because certain circumstances may prevent them from having access to certain things. Cristina said, "Adult AIDS victims are frequently unemployed because they can't work or take the time off from work needed to fully address their medical concerns. These single and sometimes very ill parents can have considerable difficulties in doing something as simple as checking homework, preparing meals or just reading to a pre-schooler." CAAF provides funding for a number of support groups that help address these challenges through providing things such as medical care or transportation. Although many children with HIV/AIDS "generally respond well" to antiretroviral drugs, Matlin said that there is "still a long way to go in targeting and banishing pediatric AIDS. And until that's accomplished it's critical to remember that these children need our financial, moral and physical support" (Falcon, Spotlight Health/USA Today, 8/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.