UST-IZHORA, Russia - With her eager smile and delight in scrawling crayoned pictures, 3-year-old Katya seems the perfect image of an adored child. But a year ago she was all but abandoned, a victim of Russia's neglect of children born to mothers with the AIDS virus.

She lay in a grim, remote hospital where nurses barely had time to feed her and other children, much less play with her. Once she was diagnosed with the virus, Katya was moved to a hospital specializing in treating young AIDS victims. When she was brought there, she didn't talk, never smiled, feared other children and cowered when a light was turned on.

She was like "a scared little animal," said Yevgeny Voronin, head of the Republican Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Ust-Izhora, outside St. Petersburg.