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Jaime's story: growing up with HIV in Bolivia

Jaime, 10 years old and HIV postive, from BoliviaJaime from Bolivia is 10 years old and he's HIV positive. He needs to take anti-retroviral medicine everyday to stay healthy. Thanks to Jaime's campaigning he has a legal right to medicine, but that doesn't mean it's available.

Jaime's mother Rosemery is often faced with the decision to give her child out of date medicine or nothing at all. She decides to give him the out of date pills, but his viral count goes up anyway.

A symbol for hope

Rosemery and Jaime both work with Christian Aid partner IDH as key campaigners for the rights of people living with HIV in Bolivia. At seven Jaime was winning awards for his campaigning and he is an international symbol of hope for other HIV positive children.

Their campaigning and the work of Christian Aid partner IDH in Bolivia has brought about big changes: the rights of people living with HIV are now enshrined in law, and critically for Jaime there is much less discrimination against people living with HIV.

Rosemery is now happy for Jaime's photo to be used, without fear of repercussions when people know he is living with HIV.

What the law says

"We have to bring the law in[to] action. The law is just the instrument, only when it's a reality can we stop fighting."

The law may say Jaime has a right to medicine, but that doesn't mean anything when the pill bottle is empty and there are no more to be found. Rosemery says "We have to bring the law in[to] action. The law is just the instrument, only when it's a reality can we stop fighting."

IDH has supported the creation of support groups of affected people. These groups and the national network are campaigning for secure provision of medicines, more specialised doctors, and training for health professionals.

Bolivia receives donations from the Global Fund and Brazil to buy anti-retroviral drugs, but all too often there are problems getting the right drugs at the right time to the people who desperately need them.

Jaime and thousands of other HIV positive people in Bolivia should not have to permanently worry about whether they will be able to get hold the medicine they so badly need. After all, it is their right.

 


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