Montreal Gazette Profiles Haitian Orphanage That Cares for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
The Montreal Gazette on Thursday profiled Maison Arc en Ciel, an orphanage outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that cares for children affected by HIV/AIDS. The facility, which was founded in 1996 by Danielle and Robert Penette of Montreal, houses 36 children ages six to 16, 25 of whom are HIV-positive. The couple has taken in both children who are HIV-positive and HIV-negative children in an effort to combat the stigma associated with the disease. The children go to school and have created a book that aims to eradicate the stigma and prejudice associated with HIV/AIDS. Over the past 10 years, 15 of the 56 children who have lived at the orphanage have died, the Gazette reports. The deaths occurred in the orphanage's first five years, with two or three children dying annually because of a lack of access to antiretroviral drugs, Danielle Penette said. About 300 of the roughly 20,000 HIV-positive children in Haiti are receiving antiretroviral medications, according to Danielle Penette. The Canadian government has donated $40,000 to the orphanage since its establishment, and the Haitian government allowed the couple to use the property on which the orphanage was established. The couple said they hope to establish support programs throughout Haiti for HIV-positive mothers and children, as well as to expand Maison Arc en Ciel (Carpenter/Thompson, Montreal Gazette, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.