The life of a six year old, anywhere in the world should be filled with bubbles and love and comfort and caring. For poor Ah Long, an HIV carrier from Guangxi Province, China, life is difficult and extremely lonely.
Both his parents died of AIDS and the poor child is too much on his own, doing his own washing, cooking and studying. His 84-year-old grandmother has planted vegetables for him and visits frequently. She cooks for him, for him, but will not live with the child.
Everyone else in his world, including the nearby primary school has rejected him. His only friend and companion is a dog named Lao Hei.
The Welfare department has also declined to take responsibility for the little boy and the monthly allowance of 70 yuan (about $US 10) he gets form the civil bureau is nowhere near enough.
The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in China is powerful and it is totally responsible for this poor child’s neglect.
Since the 1980s, the disease has spread from the gay population and drug users to the general population, but there is still a total lack of education, understanding and a pervasive denial that fuels the fires of hatred and discrimination.
There is hope for Ah Long as after his story as published in Chinese newspapers one couple announced publicly that they would adopt the boy.
To date, however, this is yet to happen.
Many Chinese believe that AIDS only infects immoral people.
How could a six-year-old boy be immoral?
Leaving a six year old to fend for himself; many others would consider that immoral.