Tomorrow is the 22nd World AIDS Day, a day to raise awareness and fight the stigma of HIV and AIDS (see also the very informative aids.gov Web page). As I have written earlier,
AIDS and hunger are closely intertwined. AIDS is rapidly spreading in the most impoverished areas of the world—places where education, women’s and children’s rights, and peace are hard to come by. Many areas, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, are trapped in a vicious cycle in which the symptoms of poverty facilitate the spread of the disease while the lives and productivity lost to the pandemic further impoverish vulnerable communities. Moreover, AIDS is especially devastating to hungry persons. Malnourished persons cannot take anti-retroviral drugs—an empty stomach cannot handle the powerful medicine. In the absence of drugs and adequate nutrition, HIV develops into AIDS more quickly. Once a person has AIDS, more food is needed to fight the illness and counteract weight loss.
On the flip side, when someone is given the food and drugs that are essential to effectively addressing the disease the results are miraculous.
This year, take some time to watch the Lazarus Effect and learn more about HIV and AIDS and the amazing transformations that can happen if someone is simply given access to life saving drugs (drugs that cost less 40 cents a day!). After watching, do something about it: learn more, share the film with a friend, give.