World AIDS Day

I’m delighted to be attending a World Vision AIDS breakfast this morning, where I’m also meeting one of my fellow her.meneutics writers, Jennifer Grant (who is the author of this lovely adoption memoir) in person for the first time!Coincidentally, I happened to be reading Margaret Kim Peterson’s Sing Me to Heaven this week, which is a memoir of her marriage to Hyung Goo Kim, who died from AIDS just four years after they married. It is an unusual, beautifully told, and deeply redemptive story, and (occurring, as it did, in the mid-90s) it reminded me how different the face of HIV/AIDS is today. Antiretroviral drugs have changed the disease from a sentence of death to a manageable illness, for those who are able to access them.Unfortunately, for many in the developing world–especially on the continent of Africa–the ARV drugs are completely unaffordable, which is tragic in many ways, not least because ARV drugs significantly reduce the spread of the virus, especially the mother-to-child transmission. And, as Melissa Fay Greene tells so well in There is No Me Without You, HIV/AIDS in Africa has resulted–and still results–in many, many orphans.I was very young when a family friend lost his fight against AIDS in the 1980s.  I remember seeing him in the hospital lobby, clutching his IV pole and looking so tired, and then being told a short time later that he’d died.

Probably you have your own memories from those (relatively) early days of the virus. ARVs have made it easy to forget what AIDS once meant.

But let’s not forget what it still means for millions.

Visit World Vision’s HIV/AIDS resources here. There’s lots of information to explore, free downloadable resources, and opportunities to give toward their HIV/AIDS efforts.

One thought on “World AIDS Day

  1. That death was one of my first as a pastor, and the first time that I watched a contemporary of mine die.

    I’ll never forget the terror I felt when we learned of his diagnosis, for in those early days we still weren’t sure that one couldn’t get it from casual contact. Had any of us contracted it at their house, or out on their boat? It seems silly now, but back then we just didn’t know.

    He and I had both been very sick, at the same time. I can remember people in the church praying for us in one breath, so to speak– that both of us would soon be properly diagnosed and healed. Of course his disease ended up being AIDS, and it soon took him. A few years later it claimed his lovely wife, who was also the sister of one of my college classmates.

    Meanwhile my own mysterious ailment turned out to be nothing more than celiac disease, very easily managed through a simple diet. His condition was fatal; mine no more than a nuisance. I suppose that ever since I’ve had a bit of survivor’s guilt about that.

    On the other hand, it’s also a big part of why I never complain about my dietary restrictions. People often speak as though my condition were some sort of hardship; I in turn always think of him, dying so terribly young. That was hardship indeed.

    They never had the chance to have any children, much less see grandchildren, such as I have been blessed with. He was dead before we turned 30, and she never saw 40. It is such a sad, sad story, redeemed only by the Gospel of Jesus, which they both held dear.

    May God’s good hand be on the researchers, and lead them to a cure.

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