Local and Community News
One Local Man's Effort to Fight AIDS in China
April 22, 2003
Last summer, dermatologist Steven Wang came across a New York Times article about the AIDS crisis in the rural Henan Province of China that ultimately motivated him to start a foundation. Unsterile blood collection practices resulted in the infection of at least 1 million people in the province, and the number of destitute orphans exploded as infection rates reached up to 40 percent in some of the villages. Wang investigated to see if any U.S. organization was providing help but found none. "One thing led to another. I decided to start a foundation," said Wang.
With the help of the Minneapolis Foundation, Wang created the China AIDS Orphan Fund, which assists AIDS-orphaned children in the Henan province by financing their education. The fund also strives to help families pay for funerals and purchase infant formula to prevent mother-to-child transmission, Wang added. So far, Wang and a team of volunteers have managed to raise almost $8,000, mainly from family, friends and local companies. Currently, the money will be channeled through Give2Asia, a U.S. organization created by the Asia Foundation that promotes accountable philanthropy in Asia.
Dan Berg, senior asset development officer at the Minneapolis Foundation, said his foundation typically sees established families starting funds to use some of their wealth for charity. Wang and the other organizers of the China AIDS Orphan Fund, on the other hand, mainly have energy and expertise to offer. Berg added that it is rare to see "an individual who starts from scratch and puts a viable structure together." Meanwhile, Wang plans to use the Internet to spread fundraising efforts nationwide, especially in big cities that have a large Chinese population.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the China AIDS Orphan Fund and the Minnesota International Center are sponsoring a free lecture on the AIDS orphan crisis in Henan Province. The event will be held at the Hamline University conference center, Room 106, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, Minn.
Saint Paul Pioneer Press
04.20.03; Richard Chin
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.