This pandemic is one that I was much happier ignoring. There's a stigma related to it because of how it is transmitted, and a social undercurrent of people who subconsciously think of it the "sinner's disease". As a Christian, it's easy to judge the suffering and turn a blind eye, until you realize the devastating effects of this disease, particularly on families in sub-saharan Africa, where 2/3 of all HIV infected patients live.
The reality of the situation is that in many villages fathers are bringing it home and infecting their wives, who inturn pass it on to the children through childbirth. Fast forward a few years, and a disease that should be both preventable and nonlife threatening has killed both parents. The children are left to fend for themselves or taken to an orphanage, and the village has lost two more intelligent, productive members of it's dwindling labor force.
Talk about adding insult to injury.
The good news is that the crisis is on the downswing due to global relief agencies such as World Vision and One that are working tirelessly to distribute proper medications, and educate at risk families. Unfortunately many women are still at risk due to local social guidelines that discriminate against womens rights. For instance in some places it is against the law for a wife to be tested without her husband's permission. Also, if he has it and she does not, she may not be permitted to protect herself.
Yeah, that's not ok. In fact I kind of hate it.
I can't help but put myself in their shoes. Watching my neighbors die, knowing that the life saving antiretroviral medication they need costs next to nothing (by American standards). And that wealthy "christians" around the world are choosing to not lend a hand because they don't want to dirty their hands by helping "sinners".
I want my hands to be dirty. I want to reach in and grab the problem by the throat and shake it like a rag doll. I want to look my fellow mothers in the eye and offer them peace and joy. I might not be able to fix all the problems in the world, but I can care. And so can you.
One is a fantastic tool to learn more about this pandemic and other global issues. It offers a variety of practical ways to get involved from reading the most up to date foreign policy information to signing petitions.