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Growing up with HIV in Romania

Screenshot from "First Generation: Growing up with HIV"

This video made me cry. Yes, right here in Bread's office, I cried -- not from sadness, but from hope.

Ion, the teenager profiled in this story, is spunky and energetic. In the opening sequence, he's dyeing his hair and breakdancing around a bedroom. He looks fun -- the kind of person you'd want to be friends with if you were in high school.

What you can't see -- and wouldn't know unless he told you -- is that he's an 18-year-old Romanian living with HIV. Ion's parents abandoned him when he was 1-year old. Like many Romanian children born around the time of the fall of Communism, he was infected in a hospital. Indeed, "the largest  age group of people living with HIV/AIDS is formed of  young  people (17-21) over 6,000, which are in fact the children  infected in the period 1987 – 1992," according to a 2010 UNAIDS report. For people like Ion, eating nutritious food to stay healthy is essential to batling HIV and AIDS.

"I'm fighting an enemy," says Ion. "And no matter how many pills I take, I might not win."

Watch the video below to learn more about Ion. See if you cry, too.

This story is part of our Wednesday ViewChange video series.

Laura-elizabeth-pohlLaura Elizabeth Pohl is multimedia manager at Bread for the World.



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