THE MOST DEVASTATING DISEASE HUMANKIND HAS EVER FACED
“AIDS has become the most devastating disease humankind has ever faced.” [United Nations comment]
Over 60 million people have been infected with the virus.
HIV/AIDS is a stalker…
It’s a stalker of the the most promising for the future – and those too young to know right from wrong.. AIDS is a stalker of innocents and guilty alike. Children are born with the virus – children who acquire HIV through their mother’s breast milk – women who have no authority - wives of polygamous husbands – young girls who have been sexually abused – and orphan children who are left so vulnerable. AIDS stalks risky behavior regardless of wealth or education.
HIV/AIDS is a killer - leaving in its wake:
Millions of orphans • Destroyed families and support structures• Devastated economies • Destabilized countries • Destitute widows and children • Death.
The response from SIM (Serving In Mission) is HOPE – HOPE for AIDS
Partnering with national churches in Africa and India to be Jesus’ hands and feet in HOPE:
Orphans and vulnerable children
Enabling the Church to respond
The world is crying. Partner with us in extending God’s grace and mercy through HOPE for AIDS
HIGH HIV/AIDS INFECTION RATES IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
[SMH, February 8, 2007]
AIDS could kill more than a third of Papua New Guinea's adult population within 20 years according to a new study that says if left unchecked the disease could have a catastrophic impact on the country's labour force and economy. The dire warnings are from the Centre for Independent Studies in a report to be released today. The report also says young women are being targeted by superstitious Papua New Guineans who believe witchcraft is responsible for AIDS-related deaths.
The report's author, Miranda Darling Tobias, says there were an estimated 500 attacks on women in the last year related to accusations of sorcery. Women were being tortured -- sometimes for days -- in order to extract "confessions" from them, and many are murdered. The patterns of HIV/AIDS infection rates in PNG were mirroring those in Africa, where the problem in many countries was completely out of control, she said.
The infection rate in PNG was estimated to be about 2 per cent, involving 118,000 people. The disease was being spread mainly through heterosexual contact and social conventions of promiscuity. Current projections estimate that the infection rate would be 18 per cent by 2010, and 25 per cent by 2020, which could see up to a third of the population dying by 2027.
At the heart of the country's inability to stop the disease's spread was the Government's failure to acknowledge the "actual and potential dimensions of the spread of HIV/AIDS and its effects", Ms Tobias said. "The problem has been coming for a while, and it is snowballing."
PNG's problems extend far wider than HIV/AIDS however, with its health system in general in a state of collapse. The country's maternal mortality rate was the second-highest in the world, with one in 18 rural women dying in pregnancy or childbirth. Many hospitals even lacked running water to wash hands, Ms Tobias said.
The country's HIV/AIDS epidemic also has implications for Australia, particularly the escalating drain on taxpayers who are funding the bilateral aid flowing to the country. Australia has allocated more than $60 million to fight HIV/AIDS in PNG over the last six years, money which Ms Tobias said "has not reached the health needs of the population."
ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION
A Letter From Elton John
Hello and welcome to the official website for the Elton John AIDS Foundation! Most of you know me as a singer, songwriter, entertainer, and composer, and I do dearly love performing for and connecting with people through song. But the most meaningful part of my public life is my work as a humanitarian in the global effort to end the AIDS epidemic.
Over the years, I have lost many dear friends to this terrible disease. In the mid-1980’s, I began channeling my grief into efforts to help raise money for the pioneering charitable organizations that formed during those dark, grim years to fund AIDS research and provide vital services to people with HIV/AIDS.
Then I met Ryan White. Ryan wasn’t the first friend of mine to die of AIDS, nor the last, but he taught me the most. People shut him out of school, shot bullets into his home, and spread lies about him. But Ryan didn’t hate them. He knew they were uninformed and afraid. He knew the real enemy was ignorance, and he forgave them. Sitting with Ryan’s mother Jeanne at his bedside as he lay dying in April of 1990 was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life. I knew I had to do more.
In 1992, I decided to bring focus to all of my AIDS-related work by establishing the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) to help make emergency funds available for the most basic needs in the areas hardest hit by the epidemic and to counter ignorance about HIV/AIDS with information. Within a year, EJAF contributions had grown so rapidly that we established a partnership with the National AIDS Fund to award community grants nationwide and also began making international grants to community projects in the developing world.
Please take a few moments to browse the many features and resources available on this website, to learn more about EJAF’s urgent work, and to find out how you can help. When our lives are done, won’t we want it to be said that when we saw millions of people suffering, millions more at risk, millions more abandoned, a whole continent in danger of dying – we stood up and REFUSED to let it happen?
Forty million people are infected with HIV. Eight thousand die every day. We have both the moral obligation and the power to end this epidemic. Do we have the will? I know I do, and I pledge to remain committed to this cause for the rest of my life. Won’t you join me?
Established by Sir Elton John in 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations supporting innovative HIV/AIDS prevention education programs and direct care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Since its founding, EJAF has raised over $100 million to support worthy programs in 55 countries around the globe. EJAF supports its work through proceeds from special events, cause-related marketing projects, and voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations.
EJAF reviews and awards grants to worthy projects worldwide and also participates in a partnership with the National AIDS Fund (NAF) to provide challenge grants to NAF member community organizations domestically that must be matched two to one as an incentive to leverage additional local support for their work from other sources.
EJAF focuses on supporting community-based prevention education programs, harm reduction programs, and direct services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, especially populations with special needs. These efforts include HIV/AIDS-related physical and mental health services, HIV testing and counseling, street outreach and education, food distribution, assisted living services, social service coordination, and community volunteer recruitment and support.
In 2005, the U.S. reached a new milestone in the HIV/AIDS epidemic – the number of Americans living with this disease topped 1 million. Worldwide last year, over 3.1 million people died from AIDS; over 570,000 of them were under the age of 15 – that’s one child dying every minute. Clearly, current public and private sector prevention responses are inadequate to stop new HIV infections. More importantly, studies show that the epidemic is being driven by several key factors in core populations, which, if properly addressed, could significantly slow the spread of the disease. We need realistic, science-based approaches to HIV prevention, and we need them now.
Last year, EJAF conducted a strategic review of its grant-making programs and the status of the AIDS epidemic domestically and internationally. Armed with this data, EJAF is leading the way with new funding initiatives targeting HIV prevention in poor communities of the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean, among young people, among gay black men, among injection drug users, and among people newly released from prison. Because of EJAF’s strong history and reputation as an HIV prevention grant-maker, the Foundation is uniquely able to leverage additional funding for the programs and organizations EJAF supports through its challenge-grant partnership with NAF.
Visit the website: ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION
Ashley's Story: What It Means To Be An AIDS Orphan
YOUNG MOTHER INFECTED WITH AIDS DURING RITUAL "VIRGIN CLEANSING"
[By Joyce Maxwell, CNN Interactive]
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- I was so struck by a story last September in the local newspaper, Daily Nation, that I clipped it for my files. To me, it captured the hopelessness of the AIDS tidal wave facing Africa's children.
A photograph accompanying the story moved me in particular. The picture shows a woman named Veronica and her newborn daughter. Veronica's baby looks calm and alert, loose curls framing her face. Her long fingers curl under a chin tucked into a soft, fringed blanket.
Beyond the blanket, the baby's world looks much less secure. Her mother's dejected hands barely keep her from sliding off her blue cotton lap. Her mother's face is lowered, eyes avoiding the camera, and avoiding her daughter. Her mother's forehead is concentrated in a confused frown. Clearly unhappy about having her photo taken, Veronica seems resigned to this intrusion only because she doesn't know how to make it go away.
According to the newspaper story, the baby was conceived when Veronica was raped, and infected with HIV, in an AIDS cleansing ritual in western Kenya. Veronica's baby, yet unnamed, will be affected by AIDS her entire life.
CHILDREN FACE A DOUBLE THREAT
AIDS in Africa touches children in two ways -- as a disease that kills their parents, leaving them orphans, and as a disease that infects children themselves.
Ten percent of the world's people live in Africa, but it is home to 90 percent of the world's HIV-infected children. In sub-Saharan Africa 470,000 children die every year from AIDS. For more than 90 percent of these children, the deadly virus is transmitted from their mother. Of 30 children born to HIV-positive mothers, approximately 10 will acquire the virus simply by being born. Another four will become infected from breast-feeding. Most of these children will not live to see their 5th birthdays.
Children also become infected through sexual contact. Among young people, girls have higher rates of infection than do boys of the same age. One study found that among youths under 20, for example, for every HIV-positive boy three to seven times that many girls were infected.
Veronica, like many other girls, was infected by a man convinced that having sex with a virgin would cure him. This cruel myth is being perpetuated across Africa. In a bid either to avoid or to cure their HIV infection, men are targeting younger and younger girls as sexual partners, willing or not.
Girls also may agree to exchange sex for favors, or more typically, for payment of school fees.
EXTENDED FAMILIES OVEREXTENDED
In Africa, where medical care and drug treatment for HIV/AIDS is unaffordable for most individuals, families and governments, an HIV-infected person can expect to live six to 10 years before dying of AIDS. More than 5.5 million children in eastern and southern Africa, at the epicenter of the epidemic, have lost their mothers or both parents to AIDS.
The existence of orphans is not new. Orphans in Africa are by tradition absorbed into extended family networks. With the advent of AIDS, however, the extended family has become overextended. AIDS has by now orphaned 9 percent of Zambia's children. In Zimbabwe 7 percent are orphans; in Malawi 6 percent. Eleven percent of Uganda's children are AIDS orphans, the highest percentage in the world. The numbers continue to grow. In the hardest hit countries the number of AIDS orphans quadrupled between 1994 and 1997.
AIDS orphans suffer on many levels. They may need to drop out of school to care for a dying parent or to care and provide for younger siblings. They are likely to have been exposed to tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections plaguing an HIV-positive adult. They may be sent to live with relatives, all too often a grandparent already catering for grandchildren from three or four families.
AN ORPHAN IS EVEN MORE VULNERABLE
Orphans are less likely than are other children to be able to go to school or to have access to adequate health care. They are more likely to live in poverty and to be malnourished. They are more likely to engage in hazardous labor, including commercial sex work that in turn exposes them to greater risk of HIV infection.
Orphans in some cases have no choice but to form child-headed households in which older children raise their younger brothers and sisters. Child-headed households are among the most economically vulnerable in Africa. Orphans are more likely to live in communities in which services and institutions have been weakened by HIV/AIDS and they are more likely to suffer from psychosocial problems.
Young people already make up the majority of the population in sub-Saharan Africa. As adults continue to die of AIDS, the children are left behind in a vacuum deprived of parental guidance -- a sea of youth, disadvantaged, vulnerable, under-educated, without hope and opportunity.
Will Veronica's daughter become part of this "lost generation"? She need only to look at the confused but resigned frown on her mother's face to get a glimpse of what the future holds for her.
[Picture: AIDS orphans receive a hot meal at a day care center in Kibera, one of the largest shantytowns in Nairobi, Kenya]
[The author, Joyce Maxwell, lives in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a consultant and publishes materials related to development. She grew up along the shores of Lake Victoria in East Africa and has lived there and in Ghana as an adult. Her husband is Daniel Maxwell, Ph.D., a food security consultant for CARE-International. She has two children, Patrick and Clare, one of whom was born in Uganda.]
Read the article HERE
THE STEPHEN LEWIS FOUNDATION
WHAT WE DO
Grassroots projects are the focus of the Stephen Lewis Foundation — providing resources to small, front-line groups that make tremendously effective use of comparatively small amounts of money. On rare occasions, we fund larger undertakings where we are sure the funds are being disbursed at the community level.
We focus on the areas of greatest need:
For women with HIV/AIDS, we fund initiatives which provide disinfectant, gloves, soap, clothing, sleeping mats and nutritious food, as well as drugs for opportunistic infections. For the neighbours, relatives and older women who are struggling to care for the dying, we fund projects providing training for home and hospital care. We also fund grassroots initiatives which offer social support, home and hospital care visits, daycare and respite care, and money for small income-generating projects to help women with HIV/AIDS to support their families.
We are helping orphans in every possible way from the payment of school fees and supplies, to support for their guardians, most often grandmothers and older teenagers. We will help nourish the orphans through school gardens and school feeding programs and fund projects that help these children cope with their grief and then work to build their self-sufficiency through vocational and life skills training.
Grandmothers single-handedly care for millions of children orphaned by AIDS, sometimes as many as ten to fifteen in one household. These magnificently courageous women bury their own children and then look after their orphan grandchildren, calling on astonishing reserves of love and emotional resilience. But they do so with almost no support.
The Foundation supports projects that unite women, men and children living with HIV/AIDS. One of the most important objectives for associations of 'People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) is to educate themselves and share information with the broader community on prevention, treatment, care and the elimination of stigma. We support them to provide nutritional support, home-based care, prevention workshops and assistance in accessing treatment as well as income generating activities.
We currently fund well over 100 projects in 14 sub-Saharan African countries. The funding provided by the Foundation is just the beginning. Ongoing funding is desperately needed for these projects to be sustainable and for other important initiatives that the organization may wish to undertake. As the work of these grassroots organizations gains momentum, the Foundation intends to be there to support projects into the future.
All of the projects inspire us with their resourcefulness, professionalism and dedication – bringing hope and dignity to the lives of those they reach. To find out more about them, click on the Projects We Fund button to the left. To learn more about how we fund, visit Funding Process.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation funds community-based initiatives in Africa. Our funding works in four areas:
* To provide care at the community level to women who are ill and struggling to survive, so that their lives can be free from pain, humiliation and indignity
* To assist orphans and other AIDS-affected children in every possible way, from the payment of school fees to the provision of food
* To support the unsung heroes of Africa, the grandmothers, who bury their own children and care for their orphan grandchildren
* To support associations of people living with HIV/AIDS — courageous men and women who have openly declared their status - so that they can educate themselves and share information with their broader communities on prevention, treatment, care and the elimination of stigma.
Visit the website: STEPHEN LEWIS FOUNDATION
US HOUSE APPROVES INCREASED EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH PROGRAMS
[Washington Post, February 1, 2007]
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved by a 286-140 vote a $463 billion spending resolution (HJ Res 20) for fiscal year 2007 that includes a $1.3 billion increase for international HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs, the The resolution would bring the total for the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to $4.5 billion.
PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The $4.5 billion for PEPFAR includes $3.2 billion for the State Department's Global HIV/AIDS Initiative, $712 million for USAID's Child Survival and Health Program, and $494 million for CDC and HHS global HIV/AIDS activities, according to a House Appropriations Committee summary.
Of these amounts, $724 million would be allocated for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, with $625 million coming from the State Department and USAID, and $99 million from HHS. In addition, $248 million would be allocated to expand programs under the President's Malaria Initiative, an increase of $149 million. The resolution also allocates an additional $75.8 million in funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., to bring its funding to $1.2 billion (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, January 30).
"With the increase ... the U.S. is much better placed to go to other countries and urge them to increase their contributions" to the Global Fund, the Global AIDS Alliance said. According to GAA, there were 4.3 million new HIV/AIDS cases worldwide last year, and outbreaks of malaria and drug-resistant TB continued (Cowan, Reuters, 1/31). "Given the incredibly difficult budget situation, the U.S. Congress made a bold decision to help those affected by AIDS, TB and malaria around the world," Natasha Bilimoria, executive director of Friends of the Global Fight, said (Friends of the Global Fight release, January 31).
"What House and Senate leadership have proposed on HIV/AIDS is nothing short of heroic," Pamela Barnes, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, said, adding, "We were facing a nightmare situation where treatment for hundreds of thousands of people was seriously threatened" (EGPAF release, 1/31). The Senate must pass the continuing resolution by Feb. 15 to prevent a "partial government shutdown," the Post reports. The White House has indicated that President Bush will sign the measure if it is approved.
CIRCUMCISION to REDUCE SPREAD of HIV in SWAZILAND
[kaisernetwork.org, February 5, 2007]
The demand for male circumcision is beginning to "sweep" across Swaziland as people seek ways prevent to the spread of HIV, AFP/Mail and Guardian reports. Data from two studies conducted in Kenya and Uganda released in December 2006 by NIH indicate that routine male circumcision could reduce a man's HIV infection risk through heterosexual sex by about 50%. According to researchers, male circumcision eliminates the cells most vulnerable to HIV. In addition, a circumcised penis develops thicker skin that is resistant to HIV infection.
The results of the Uganda and Kenya studies were similar to the results of a study conducted in South Africa in 2005. To try to meet the growing demand, doctors at the government hospital in the capital, Mbabane, are being trained and are requested to assist in special "circumcision days," when men can undergo the procedure at no cost. On those days, roughly 40 men get circumcised, but up to 100 additional men regularly are turned away because of the lack of professional medical staff available to perform the procedure.
According to urologist Adam Groenevald, circumcising 200,000 men will require 40,000 operations to be performed annually for the next five years. In addition, there are "deeper-rooted and more cultural barriers" to circumcision in Swaziland, as boys in the country traditionally are not circumcised, AFP/Mail and Guardian reports. Swaziland's health ministry is waiting for advice from the World Health Organization before rolling out a mass circumcision program.
"We have to make the medical establishment and policymakers ready for the go ahead," Groenevald said, adding, "If we are not ready and the go ahead comes, there will be chaos. A number of unqualified people will start offering circumcisions, and we need to avoid that at all costs." According to Faith Dlamini of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS, the government would focus initially on circumcisions among boys and men ages 15 to 30 who are most vulnerable to HIV transmission. UNICEF estimates that HIV prevalence among men ages 20 to 30 in the country is almost 50%, which is higher than the national adult prevalence.
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