Africa AIDS: Orphanage closes its hospice, babies no longer dying

AIDS killed a baby a week during the height of the epidemic at the Cotlands child-care facility in South Africa. But because treatment has improved so much, infected babies aren't being abandoned as much, nor are they dying. The Cotlands has closed its hospice for lack of ill infants.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor

It was common, at Cotlands child-care facility, for one baby to die every week, in the small AIDS hospice opened there in 1996. In 2002, 89 babies died, almost two a week. Then, in 2008, babies at Cotlands stopped dying. There were no deaths in 2009 or 2010, either. The center realized this wasn't a fluke: Its HIV-positive children appeared to benefit from antiretroviral drugs, known as ARVs. Children were still being abandoned, or given up for adoption, but not – for the most part – because they were born with HIV. Last December, Cotlands closed its AIDS hospice.