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Rainbow Humanitarianism

   

 

GLOBAL HIV/AIDS

Since AIDS first emerged over 30 years ago, over 25 million people around the world have died, 5 million of them children. Everyday 7000 more people contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Presently more than 34 million people are infected with HIV.

Since 2005, RWF has funded HIV prevention and case management services in South Africa, focused on helping save the next generation of young Africans. Thousands of young people have been helped by RWF's efforts. Currently RWF supports a innovative program called Injongo Yethu (Uplifting Those In Need). It helps orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in rural South Africa.

Through this program, each child, according to individual need, receives a variety of services including: clinical nutrition interventions, food and/or food parcels, shelter interventions, child protection interventions (birth registration identification and inheritance support), general healthcare services such as immunizations, HIV prevention education and related interventions, psychosocial care, general and vocational education, and antiretroviral treatment. It costs about $100 per year to help a child.

RWF is partnered with Africare in South Africa.

HIV/AIDS FACTS

Every year there are 2.7 million newly infected people and 2 million deaths due to AIDS. There is hope, in developed high-income nations where health care, education and HIV medications are available, these statistics have in fact been decreasing. Massive early intervention campaigns targeting at-risk populations have been successful in substantially reducing transmission rates, although recent information suggests risk behaviors may be increasing in some communities. Effective medication therapies, although not a cure, have also substantially contributed to the reduction of HIV transmission and have improved the quality of life and survival rates of those living with AIDS.

For much of the world it has been a different story. Many countries have not been as successful in curb HIV transmission rates and in fact some developing low-income nations face ever-increasing infection rates. In sub-Saharan countries the rate of acquiring HIV remains high. In fact, of the 34 million people living with HIV, more than 70 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus far 17 million Africans have died of AIDS, 3.7 million of them children and an additional 12 million children have been orphaned. On the continent of Africa an estimated 1 in 10 adults is HIV positive; and in some countries the rate jumps to nearly 1 in 4. Although anti-retroviral medications have proved to be highly effective in reducing transmission rates of HIV and have dramatically improved the quality of life for many, these medications are still out of reach for many people living with HIV.

The toll for much of Africa has been devastating. Aside from the emotional impact, stigmatization and family tragedy which often accompany HIV infection, AIDS has profoundly impacted the economic, political and cultural structures of many countries. The majority of those infected with HIV are young adults. Traditionally this middle generation has been responsible for the care of the elderly and nurturing of the young along with charting the future course of their nations' development. With disability and death taking large numbers of this essential generation, the stability of entire societies is at risk. Families often lose their breadwinner, children lose their parents, family structures further unravel. Children must often care for their own dying parents and are then left on their own as support traditionally available from the extended family no longer exists. These children are at particular risk for malnutrition, illness, abuse and exploitation. With infrastructures crumbling around them, these children rarely have access to basic educational, social or medical services putting them further at risk to becoming the next generation to succumb to AIDS.

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