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Humanitarian ReasonA Moral History of the Present$
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Didier Fassin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520271166

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520271166.001.0001

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Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents

Representing Childhood in the Age of AIDS

(p.161) 6. Massacre of the Innocents
Humanitarian Reason

Didier Fassin

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the three different problems faced by the children in South Africa which include the increasing prevalence of AIDS and transmission of HIV virus from mother-to-child, the increasing abuse of children, particularly girls and infants and the state of orphans in South Africa. It refers to the struggle of Nkosi Johnson, a HIV-positive child abandoned by her mother, which made South Africans aware of the epidemiological reality of the HIV infection and conceives a different moral representation of AIDS. The HIV-positive children in South Africa were the victims of both the reckless behavior of their parents and the inappropriate decisions of the government that was too slow to introduce programs for reducing the rate of transmission from mother to child. It also reveals how the issue of orphans and more generally of children separated from their parents is not just the consequence of a biological misfortune, but also the result of historically constituted structural inequalities in the society.

Keywords:   AIDS, mother-to-child HIV transmission, Nkosi Johnson, orphans, South Africa

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