Today is World AIDS Day, a day for the world to learn about HIV/AIDS. As I was walking out of church, I saw a tent set up (I go to church in the mall) where they were doing testing for HIV/AIDS and also getting general information out. I thought that’s a great thing, didn’t even realize it was World AIDS day.
Before I came here AIDS was a disease to me. Something that I knew was a problem, but I didn’t know anyone affected by it. I knew it was widely spread all over southern Africa and that there actually was a decent population of HIV positive individuals in the DC area. But again, it didn’t affect me.
Yet it should have.
AIDS is a worldwide problem. Most countries, if not all, have people within their population who are HIV positive. Someone in your circle knows someone who is HIV positive. I know multiple people who are HIV positive.
Coming to Lesotho, I knew I would be around more people who are HIV positive, that it would affect me. And yes I know people who are HIV positive. I know children who are HIV positive. It affects me now.
And it should have affected me then.
People are dying from this disease all over the world. People who don’t have access to the antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs that can keep the virus in the HIV form and keep the symptoms at bay. People who can’t afford the transport to pick up the drugs the government is giving away for free. All they have to do is get to the clinic to get their ARVs and then to take them correctly and they get free ARVs. Yet, they can’t afford that.
24% of the population of Lesotho is HIV positive. And that’s the people they know. That doesn’t include those that haven’t been tested. It doesn’t include children younger than a certain age. That number is actually much higher.
In this country you would have a hard time finding someone who has not been affected by HIV/AIDS.
So, what can we do on this World AIDS Day?
Pray for a cure.
Pray for a generation of children whose parents are gone because of this awful disease.
Pray for the grandparents who are taking on the role of parent once again because there is no one else to care for their grandchildren.
Pray for the facts about AIDS to get out there so people aren’t afraid of this disease and are willing to help.
Pray the lies told by many are defeated. Lies like if you have sex with a virgin you will be cured of AIDS. Lies that spread the disease rather than curing it.