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.