HIV

What were the first couple words that went through your mind when you read the name of this post. Be honest.

….

This week we watched the movie Philadelphia during our Thursday night Justice Movie Night. I learned that if we were in the 90’s in America – you would be thinking about about homosexuals and drug users.

Now we know so much more about HIV, for example: globally HIV much more likely to be contracted through heterosexual intercourse. I learned quite a bit about HIV in university, and I took it for granted that most people were aware about the truth about HIV, but after watching the movie I realized that there are still a lot of people in the States that maybe don’t think this way. Thats why I wanted you to be honest with yourself about what you associate with HIV.

This week we had the privilege to hear Larry and Janice Sandberg speak to us about HIV. They are a couple that has spent much of their lives in Africa, and have worked with an orphanage in Africa for years.

Larry is a doctor and knows all about how HIV works, he explained some of it us. At first I was like, ok how is this going to help me in ministry? But after a while, understanding that HIV is virus and how it attacks the immune system, helped me understand why people who are HIV positive need to be on medication right away. I didn’t realize that once they go on medication they need to be on it consistently and will be on it for the rest of their lives. The advances in medicine are great for people who HIV in the developed countries and have the resources to be tested and to be on medication. It really affected me when I realized that people who are in developing countries – where HIV is most prominent – they have the least access to the health care they need, and the least knowledge about the disease.

Janice is a nurse with a lot of psychology background. Through her teaching and her comments through out the week it began to really hit me how much sensitivity is required when working HIV patients. I guess I was aware of the stigma that goes hand in hand with HIV, but I just never thought about what this meant for individuals who are coming to terms with having contracted the illness. It really breaks my heart to think about the stigma they face, and how this can be different if they contracted as a child (from their mother, or from rape) or from a choice to have sexual activity.

Why do people do this? Why do people judge others and think: Well you made a choice to be sexually promiscuous and if you get an STD, you deserve the consequence? I don’t have an answer. But deep inside I just know its wrong.

On a less dramatic note, check out these pictures from Zona Norte Kids Outreach.

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