That’s a question we all need to answer.
Exactly what will it take to stop HIV in its tracks?
Let’s answer that.
It will take YOU.
Here’s how you can help.
For starters, Ripples International is planning a World Aids Day processional march from Kangeta to Meru City center.
The walk begins from 9.30 am.
Our aim is to raise commemorate World Aids Day by emphasizing our commitment to HIV awareness efforts and prevention exercises in our region.
We will culminate the walk in a public meeting at Meru town held in collaboration with AWDF and Boresha Health, where we will urge everyone to take an active stance in championing HIV awareness efforts in your area.
Why are we doing this?
Because it is time for you and me to step up our efforts in combating HIV. The information and resources to do so are at our beck and call. We live in a time where new technologies, advancements in science and the digital revolution have totally changed our lives.
People with HIV can now download Apps that keep them aware of their medicine schedule and any sudden changes in their bodies. You can regulate your condition with digital tools and applications that keep you monitoring your health instantly.
New global efforts have meant that the number of people receiving HIV treatment has increased dramatically in recent years, particularly in resource-poor countries.
In other words, a vision that once looked so bleak, is now achievable.
We can win the war against HIV!
How Can You Get Involved
We have more creative efforts and opportunities for people to get involved in HIV Awareness/Prevention exercises. Let’s explore some of them.
- You could set up a blog that discusses ways and methods of HIV prevention.
- Wear a red ribbon to work as a symbol of your support for the cause.
- You could compose a song that become the anthem of change for HIV awareness.
- You could hold a public meeting at the local Polytechnic where you bring together top leaders from your neighborhood.
- You could fund local research efforts.
- Invite a person living with AIDS or health care worker to come and talk to students about HIV/AIDS discrimination.
- You could hold various networking seminars
- You could stage a Play at your local Theatre
- Organize a free HIV Awareness music concert in your city.
So you see, there are various creative ways that you can help inspire HIV Awareness where you are.
Let’s share with you what we’ve been up to for the last 10 years.
10 Years of HIV Prevention and Awareness Community Efforts
For the last 10 years, this has been an integral part of our work.
We have seen mothers abandon their babies because they were born with HIV.
Back in 2006, the feeling was that a baby born with the virus is doomed to die.
We rescued as many babies as possible. We accommodated babies at our New Start Center who were as young as 3 months old.
We visited police stations and asked the police officers to alert us immediately they found abandoned babies like this.
We told the local community leaders and Chiefs that they should use our hotline to alert us in case they came across any case like this. We held local ‘baraza’s’ where we brought the community together to assure them that the virus is not a death sentence.
We gave the babies milk and food.
We provided a temporary shelter for them.
We funded their medical care. We sat with them in hospital.
We cuddled them, we sang to them, we held them as they slept.
We treated them like our own children.
In the presence of such love and acceptance, the babies thrived. They grew strong, without any fear of victimization. They didn’t even know ‘something’ was wrong with them.
Most of the babies we rescued are now vibrant, happy teenagers. They have been restored to their families, and are continuing with their schooling. They are living a happy life.
Since then, we have rescued over 100 babies and held over 200 community workshops.
These are the incredible success stories that give us the joy and strength to come to work every day.
In 2016, The Work Continues…
Since 2006, the fear and phobia people had against people living with HIV has reduced. No longer do we have husbands kicking out their wives because they have HIV. It’s a rare instance where a husband deliberately comes home to infect his wife with HIV because he too has the virus.
But we need to do more. A lot more.
Stopping the AIDS epidemic is part of the Sustainable development goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
So, we all have a role to play if we want to kick HIV out of the world by 2030.
New HIV infections among children have declined by 50% since 2010.
Let’s take a look at the statistics according to UNAIDS.
- Worldwide, 150 000 [110 000–190 000] children became newly infected with HIV in 2015, down from 290 000 [250 000–350 000] in 2010. Source UNAIDS
Global HIV Statistics
- 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2016) Source UNAIDS
- 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2015) Source UNAIDS
- 2.1 million [1.8 million–2.4 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2015) Source UNAIDS
- In 2015, an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV (including 1.8 million children) – a global HIV prevalence of 0.8%
- Since the start of the epidemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses
- AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45% since the peak in 2005. Source UNAIDS
- In 2015, 1.1 million [940 000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide, compared to 2 million [1.7 million–2.3 million] in 2005. Source UNAIDS
- Sub-Saharan Africa, the hardest hit region, is home to nearly 70% of people living with HIV but only about 13% of the world’s population. Source KFF.org
- The sub-region of Eastern and Southern Africa is home to more than half (52%) of all people living with HIV, as well as more than half of the children living with HIV (56%) Source KFF.org
This Is A Wake Up Call
We have come a long way.
You see, it is possible to overcome the stigma and continue with your life.
HIV is not a prison sentence. It’s a wake up call.
It’s a wake up call to adults to be more responsible.
It’s a wake up call that we need to be accountable to one another.
It’s a wake up call to all of us that we need to stand up and do something about a scourge that is affecting families around us.
It’s also a wake up call that we can fight and overcome HIV!
15 million people are already accessing life-saving ART’s. We have what it takes to break the #AIDS pandemic.
Join The Movement
By simply using one of the creative methods above, you can be part of the global movement to kick AIDS out of the world by 2030.
Tomorrow, as we reflect on the gains we have achieved so far in our fight against HIV, let’s whisper a prayer or all those who are living with the virus.
I like the local TV commercial where a young boy said, “I have the virus, but I am not a virus.”
I have the virus, but I am not a virus.
Join the movement today to champion HIV awareness in your area.
The theme for the 2016 observance of World AIDS Day is “Hands up for #HIVprevention.” It emphasizes different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people beginning with key populations and people living with HIV, as well as how the disease impacts adolescent girls and young women.
You could also support us in our work to save as many orphans and vulnerable children as possible from a life of stigma and shame.
In fact, Avert.org have a very creative approach for you if you want to get involved. They have created an interactive online timeline for you to read, see, hear and explore how things have changed over the past four decades of the HIV epidemic.
World Aids Day 2016
Make a difference during Worlds Aids Day. The world is waiting for you to do your part.
Will you be counted as one of the few to heed the call?
We hope so!
Here’s to a world free of the HIV scourge!