Saturday, December 1, 2007

Be Part of The Solution

Today is World AIDS Day. AIDS is truly the leprosy of our age. The stigma attached to AIDS has made many victims of this merciless disease stereotyped, outcasted, and belittled, even to the point of being deemed "deserving" of AIDS. The uncontrolled spread of AIDS is devastating much of Africa, Asia, and even parts of America. Here are some statistics from DATA (Debt AIDS, and TRADE for AFRICA) about AIDS and POVERTY in Africa and some practical ways we can help prevent the further spread of AIDS and treat, minister, and bless the ones who have already contracted it. Whatever we do unto the least of these, we do unto Jesus...If we bless, uplift, extend compassion, and sacrifice, we have done so for our brethren and our Lord. If we scoff, rationalize, blame, condemn, or ignore, we forsake our brethren and betray our Lord.

Africa has been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other region in the world. Over two-thirds of people living with HIV and over three-quarters of HIV-associated deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2007, some 1.7 million Africans were newly infected with HIV, bringing the region’s total to 22.5 million.

11.4 million African children have already lost one or both parents to AIDS. The disease is not limited to adults- 2.2 million children in sub- Saharan Africa are living with HIV, accounting for 90% of global HIV pediatric cases. Most of these children are infected by their mothers during childbirth because few HIV-infected pregnant women have access to antiretroviral medication that can drastically reduce mother-to-child transmission. Once born with the disease, only 13% of these children have access to HIV treatment. Beyond the risk to themselves and their families, millions of children are losing their teachers, nurses and friends too. Businesses are losing their workers, governments are losing their civil servants, families are losing their breadwinners. As a result, entire communities are devastated and economies that are already crippled by poverty, debts and unfair trade policies are further compromised.

Africa is the region most in need of life-saving anti-AIDS drugs, accounting for 4.8 million of the 7.1 million people worldwide in need of ARVs.

"Don't Give Up" by Alicia Keys and Bono

The "Lazarus Effect"

Here are some organizations you could consider supporting to combat AIDS and extreme poverty:

The One Campaign: To Make Poverty History. Visit the link below for more information and to sign the One Campaign Petition.

The One Hit Wonder Campaign (an experiment in collecting just $1 from participants to see how everyday people sacrificing next to nothing can change countless lives if we would just band together).

The Red Campaign (businesses have partnered up with the Global Fund, selling an array of (RED) products, the profits from which are donated to the Global Fund. $50 million dollars thus far!

To educate yourself on the AIDS pandemic visit: for up to date statistics and news events.


musicmommy3 said...

I don't know if this is still true because it's been almost 10 years since I was in Africa for the summer but in Zambia (where I was) we were teaching at a private Christian school and we were not allowed to explain how AIDS is transmitted in the sexual area. We were told that it was illegal to speak of that in a school setting- even a private one.
So, one area we can pray is that the truth will be brought to light. The school we were helping in was made up of children who were mostly single or double orphans (single orphans refers to the children who have lost one parent) many who's parents had died of AIDS. This stuff is REAL people. I have seen some of the ravages of that disease in Africa. I LOVE the African people. Please pray and give as the Lord leads you.

KreativeMix said...

This is an excellent post!!! Thanks for spreading the word!!

Terry said...

As you mentioned the heartless people who speak as though AIDS victims somehow deserve this disease, I was reminded of a childhood friend who lost his life to AIDS. There's no way anyone who has seen a person battle this disease up close would ever say such a thing. This is a good post. We must have compassion for these people. After all, there but for the grace of God...

Tia Lynn said...

Yes Terry, when people get on the topic of “what we deserve,” it is easy to look a group of people that we cannot relate to (AIDS patients, gays, minorities, and people of other religions) and start throwing around the “well, they deserve as such,” kind of attitude. But in light of what we ALL really deserve, compassion and grace are always the way to go. When I look back on my life and remember the MANY stupid, hurtful choices I’ve made, I know I “deserve” horrible things too, but by God’s grace and kindness, I am redeemed. We have to view others through that lens as well.

wild flower said...

I cannot believe the woman in that second video improved so dramatically within just sixty days! It warms my heart that people refer to the ARVs as "The Lazurus Effect," what an amazing gift modern medicine is.

Thomas said...

Don't you think that by allieviating people with AIDS pain then we interfere with God's judgment? Getting AIDS is a result of people's sin. If we enable them to "get around it" they will never repent.

Marissa said...

Wow, i cant believe that kind of attitude. SO tell me this Thomas...if you get cancer, is that a result of your sin? Should you not get the treatment you need to get well? Should people all around you just let you die? There are babies, BABIES, in Africa that have AIDS from their mother who got it from their unfaithful those babies not deserve to get well? Its views like yours that deeply trouble me.

Tia Lynn said...

Wow. Holy flashback to last new years, batman (a.k.a marissa)! :)

Thomas, really, besides the fact that the FASTEST growing group of HIV victims are MARRIED, FAITHFUL women and then their children, who inherit it in utero or through breast feeding, even if a person willingly engages in promiscuous behavior and contracts the disease, aren’t we called to mercy? Aren’t we called to compassion? Aren’t we called to love people, even those who “deserve” it least as if they were Jesus Himself? God’s kindness leads to repentance, and we are called to be agents of that kindness. Allowing people to die a slow, agonizing death to make an example to show what can happen as a result of sin, does nothing but reveal the disgusting pride and self-righteousness that takes up residence in the hardened hearts of the deceived, blinded to their own need for an “undeserved” grace, to redeem their failures, shortcomings, and equally grievous sins.

Marissa said...

BTW, AIDS isnt "God's judgement" on people. AIDS exists as a result of our sin through Adam and Eve. God has mercy and grace on ALL...until He returns and judges us all

Thomas said...

Oh that's right, I forgot that God suspends all judgment until the end of time. It's not as if he sent floods, earthquakes, pestilence, disease, war, famine, drought, and locusts to consume His adversaries, which are pagans, which africa is overrun with. WAKE And what do you know? That's where AIDS is most out of control. WAKE UP!

AIDS is not the same as getting cancer. Cancer can happen to anyone, through no fault of their own. AIDS is almost always contract through fornicational or adulertous sex/drug use. It's not right to enable that behavior. It's unfortuante that children suffer because of their sinful parents, but it might be better for them to be taken as children, so they do not grow up to repeat the same sins as their parents.

All this talk about educating them, providing healthcare for them, not only coddles and enables sinful choice, but it is outrageously expensive to front the bill to cover the cost for rebellious decisions. That may not be the popular stance in this "I'm ok, you're ok" culture, but letting AIDS run it course will be a testament of God's power and judgment, a possible avenue for repentance before death, and will wipe those out who do not repent. This life is but a vapor, eternity is what counts, standing by God's judgment is what counts.

Tia Lynn said...

I actually want to vomit right now, that’s how disgusted I am by that sort of attitude. I’m sure it’s quite a power trip for you Thomas, to seize God’s gavel and play judge to the entire world, as if your simplistic and ignorant blanket statements can accurately depict the hearts, struggles, and circumstances of the MILLIONS of unique complex individuals affected by this terrible disease. My suggestion would be to put the gavel down, leave the judgment to God, invest in a mirror, so you can take the log from your own eye, and actually be what Jesus calls all of us to be....SERVANTS. It is completely irrelevant whether or not God “ordained” AIDS because He specifically tells His people to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, HEAL THE SICK, visit those in prison, whether they “deserve” it or not, because it is unconditional sacrificial love that truly transforms people. He doesn’t qualify this radical command of love with a “only if you feel they deserve it.”