Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why do we stand for it? World AIDS Orphans Day

Today, May 7, is World AIDS Orphans Day. I've written before about HIV/AIDS and the 40 million reasons to care.

Today I'd like to point you to a post by Erin at Full House, Full Hands and ask with her: why do we stand for it? An excerpt from her post:

In the United States, if a child loses a parent to accident or illness, it is considered a terrible tragedy. Such stories are covered by the media, communities mourn and show their support, etc. In Sub-Saharan Africa, parents dieing is a normal part of life. It is still a terrible tragedy for those children, but it happens so often that no one else really pays any attention.

And do you know what makes this really, truly horrible? Do you know what makes my gut twist and my heart ache? HIV IS COMPLETELY TREATABLE.

If a person contracts HIV in the United States or another country where there is treatment readily available, they have an excellent long term prognosis. Most HIV+ people receiving treatment now have close to normal life expectancies and can live in good overall health. With treatment, HIV+ children can be healthy and happy. They can go to school, grow up, go to college, have (healthy!) children, and live long enough to raise them and beyond. Without treatment, an estimated 50% of HIV+ children will die before the hit their second birthday. My Solomon was almost one of those 50%.

HIV does not have to be a death sentence, and yet for thousands of people every day, it is, because the world doesn't care enough to really do something about it.

Can you imagine for one minute if some terrible disease struck the United States (or whatever country you live in) and was killing thousands and orphaning thousands every day? Can you imagine if another country had treatment that could lead to good health and a long life, but it just was too expensive or too difficult or too much trouble to get that medicine to us? We wouldn't stand for it.

So why do we stand for it now?

Erin knows of what she speaks--her family has adopted two HIV+ children, and much of her life's work is helping finding homes for more. But at the present rate of apathy in the Western world, it will not be enough for many millions. If that doesn't sound right to you, I encourage you to check out her suggestions for ways to touch an orphan's life, starting getting educated about HIV and sharing that knowledge with whomever you can--be it two hundred church members, twelve blog readers, or just two friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good questions...why did we get into such a panic about a flu, to the point of closing schools for a week, when few children were seriously ill? and meanwhile, for lack of caring, we haven't spent the money for HIV meds for a disease that kills millions...millions of children somewhere else!