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HIV affects the entire family, not just the child. Health care costs, missed work for doctor's appointments, and struggles with reimbursement often leave parents of HIV-positive kids struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, charities have started camps to allow kids with HIV to be just a kid.
Almost all of these programs are at no cost to the parent. Many teach valuable health lessons, build up child self-confidence and self-worth, and show how to keep living a long, fulfilling life. All have medically-trained staff to handle sensitive needs like wheelchair-accessible cabins. Of course, they also have all the activities that make camp a childhood rite of passage.
Reach Camp http://www.reachministries.org/programs.php#camp
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Rise 'n Shine http://www.risenshine.org/summer_camp.htm
Camp Starlight http://www.cascadeaids.org/events.html
Location: Portland, Ore.
Camp Laurel http://www.camplaurel.org/
Location: Los Angeles area.
Camp Sunburst http://www.sunburstprojects.org/
Location: ten miles south of Livermore, Calif.
Camp Pacific Heartland http://www.camppacificheartland.org/
Location: Malibu, Calif.
Camp Care http://www.allaboutcare.org/campcare/
Location: Central California's Yosemite region.
Camp Kindle Hollywood http://www.campkindle.org/
Location: Los Angeles.
Camp Kindle http://www.campkindle.org/
Camp Heart to Heart http://www.campkindle.org/
Location: Lebanon Junction, Ky., south of Louisville.
Location: Ozark Mountains, south of St. Louis.
Jennifer's Camp: http://www.aarcsa.com/Jennifer.html
Location: San Antonio, Texas.
Camp Hope http://www.aidshelp.org/pt_programs.aspx
Location: Houston area.
Camp H.U.G. http://www.aidshelp.org/pt_programs.aspx?jump=camphug
Location: Houston area. An offshoot of AIDS Foundation Houston's Camp Hope, for caregivers and well as children with HIV.
Camp Oasis http://www.campoasis.com/
Location: two hours north of Toronto.