“Journey into the Pandemic”

Every 12.6 seconds, someone is infected with HIV (www.worldvision.ca). By 2010, it is predicted that as many as 40 million children in developing countries will have lost either one or both parents to the disease (www.undp.org).

We’ve heard the facts, but do we know their stories?

Have a look at www.worldvisionmedia.ca/worldmap. This interactive maps presents photos and stories about the impact of HIV and AIDS around the world as well as a message from Stephen Lewis and World Vision Canada’s Dave Toycen. The story of Griseida and Natalia in El Salvador caught my attention. Orphaned by AIDS, these children were adopted by their aunt, given a place to live and a family. What they still have yet to regain is their dignity. Being enrolled in the sponsorship program and the support they receive this way has helped them, but they still face social stigma, forcing them to live apart from the community and leaving their uncle out of a job. Not all children are even as fortunate as Griseida and Natalia either, and it seems like a stretch to me to call their situation fortunate. Their voices are just two of many…

The impact of HIV and AIDS, just like the impact of most other issues that our world faces, is complex and multi-faceted. I find these stories so valuable because, while I certainly don’t understand each of the dimensions of the impact of HIV and AIDS on families, I can see that these stories look at not only the physical impact of the disease but also at social, socio-economic and psychological impacts. I can hear the need from the very voices of the people affected. Watching this, it’s hard to deny that the issue is complex and that the solution won’t be easy.

But rather than simply exploiting these precious people to portray their need in an emotionally compelling way, these stories offer a sense of hope. In the midst of the alarming statistics we hear and the horrifying impact this disease is having on the world, one message comes through very clearly: there is hope.

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I hope you find this as meaningful as I did. 

Until next time,

Kate

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