There are about 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Over half are women. More than 60% of those 34 million people have no idea they are living with the disease.
Every hour, 205 people die from HIV/AIDS. 14% of those are children.
16.6 children have become orphaned because their parents died from HIV/AIDS.
It shocks me to the core that something so small can have such a devastating effect on our world. This HIV/AIDS virus … it starts as just a single tiny organism. But man is it powerful.
A few years ago I worked as an intern at an organization that served people living with HIV/AIDS. I will never forget the friends that I made there. Friends that were living with this virus. Friends that had accepted the fact that they may never be cured of the disease, but with a few precautions and medications, could survive with it for quite some time. They taught me that in some ways, we are all living with HIV/AIDS. We are all affected by the disease, whether we know it or not.
Those friends – they changed my life. They gave me hope.
We’ve come so far in working to eliminate the HIV/AIDS virus … and yet there are still almost 5,000 AIDS-related deaths each day. The statistics seem so grim … so overwhelming … how can we possibly make a difference?
I’m beginning to think that it’s no coincidence that World AIDS Day falls squarely in the beginning of Advent. Advent – a time of hope. A time of staying awake to watch for the coming of Jesus. Not just on Christmas morning, but every day of our lives.
Because, you see, there is hope for those living with HIV/AIDS. There are medications that can make living with HIV/AIDS possible. There is treatment available to help prevent mothers from passing HIV/AIDS to their babies. There are people working all over the world to help eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
Christ has promised us hope. And we can be that hope for others. On this World AIDS Day, I challenge you to take action. Raise awareness, say a prayer, donate money, become educated, attend a local event, organize a new event … the possibilities are endless.
What will you do?
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