06 December 2010

Conviction: A Deeper Understanding

Many people are aware of the ravages that HIV/AIDS has wreaked on our world. It does not respect the boundaries that separate our map, it cares not for race, class or social standing. When it attacks, it leaves children alone and helpless, families searching for a means to survive. However, many of us are able to see HIV/AIDS as a far off issue -- a boogieman that we in the developed world can easily sweep under the rug.

Instead, let's look a little closer. The Mayo Clinic has great resources on what HIV/AIDS is all about:
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a illness in which a persons immune system is weakened and unable to properly defend against sickness and infection -- it causes a lowered white blood cell count which means that your body is not equipped to combat disease. While a healthy immune system will fight and eliminate viruses and bacteria in order to keep you alive and well, the immune system of a person who has AIDS is unable to fend off intruders. HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is what leads to AIDS, though it can take years for HIV to develop into AIDS. The virus is spread through bodily fluids, meaning that sex, childbirth and coming in contact with infected blood are all possible ways to become infected.

There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Both are like many of the cancers that we are familiar with -- the symptoms are treatable, but eventually fatal. However, in places like sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti where living conditions are not as we are used to, the disease and its complications kill much faster. These facts from World Vision illustrate the impact:

  • An estimated 32.9 million people are living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
  • Every day, nearly 7,400 people become infected with HIV and more than 5,400 die from AIDS.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected, accounting for 67 percent of all people living with HIV and 72 percent of AIDS deaths.

  • It's devastating, isn't it?

    But let's recap: if we have established that yes, HIV/AIDS can be treated though it is eventually fatal, why are 5400 people dying every day from it, and why are so many of them in sub-Saharan Africa?

    No comments:

    Post a Comment