This is an issue that our great-grandchildren will judge us by.
They will ask: 'What did you do to stop AIDS?' - Bono
Africa is a continent of vast beauty, deep history and rich culture. It is also a land struggling with famine, poverty, debt and an AIDS epidemic.
Over 17 million Africans have died from AIDS (2 million Africans have died from AIDS in 2003). Currently, more than 30 million Africans are infected with HIV, and many have co-infections such as TB, Kaposi's Sarcoma (a form of cancer related to HIV), thrush, pneumonia, etc. Over 40 million people are HIV-positive around the world, and there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. Within sub-Saharan Africa, 6,500 people die of AIDS each day and over 70,000 HIV-infected infants are born each year. Fewer than 1% of pregnant women in heavily affected countries have access to services aimed at preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Additionally, widespread poverty prevents many infected Africans from affording both diagnosis and treatment for HIV/AIDS. This means that many HIV-infected Africans have no clue that they are infected, because there is limited access to testing facilities and no incentive to know if they are infected since there is no affordable treatment. With hope comes action. Within the past few months, the South African government has decided to establish a national treatment program and the Clinton Foundation has negotiated a price reduction for some developing countries, which nearly halves the lowest anti-HIV (antiretroviral) treatment cost to US$132 per patient per year. Until now, the price of first-line treatment ranged between US$270 to US$593 per patient per year. Even though the cost of a PlayStation 2 would provide a patient with enough antiretroviral drugs for an entire year, only 75,000 of the 30 million HIV-positive Africans have access to antiretroviral drugs. Depending on which combination of antiretroviral drugs is chosen, it can cost up to US$10,000 a year to delay the breakout of AIDS in an HIV-infected patient in Western Europe or North America.
Within developing nations, only 400,000 people living with HIV/AIDS are receiving antiretroviral treatments, with the majority of them living in Brazil. Brazil is currently the only developing country that has implemented universal access to antiretroviral drugs.
The AIDS epidemic is not limited to only Africa and Brazil. Over 250,000 North Americans do not know that they are infected with HIV, and more than half of new infections are among people under the age of 25. Asia (India/China) and Eastern Europe are currently in the initial stage of an HIV epidemic, and will be in the same situation as Africa within the next 5-10 years if there isn't an immediate response. Between 1995 and 2003, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have seen a rise in HIV-positive individuals from 30,000 to more than 1.5 million people (with 230,000 newly infected individuals in 2003).
KwaZulu-Natal is a South African province that has the highest population of HIV-infected individuals in the world (more than 1/3 of the population is infected with HIV; imagine living in a city where one in every three people you meet on the street could be living with HIV). The Zulu tribe originated from the region, and is known for their beadwork, which remains a tradition in parts of the province.
The Sinikithemba House is an HIV/AIDS support group at the McCord hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Each of these beaded items was made by members of the HIV/AIDS support group at the McCord hospital. The Sinikithemba House sells its beadwork as a form of fundraising, with 50% of the money raised going towards covering the cost of antiretroviral treatment for patients in need, and the remaining 50% going towards social programs (such as baking and sewing lessons); keep in mind that many families have lost parents to AIDS. The Sinikithemba House also has a choir, which travels internationally to raise funds and awareness of HIV/AIDS.
View and Purchase the fundraising beadwork online at: hope.hivrelief.com
Feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch of Global Media AIDS Initiative by United Nations, Kaiser Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 20 Media Organizations:
Global Media AIDS Initiative / Statement by Bill Gates to media leaders
HIV/AIDS Fundraising events in Ottawa: http://events.hivrelief.com
For additional fundraising ideas:
http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org (Maclean's 2003 Man of the Year)
http://www.pedaids.org [Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation]
http://www.46664.com [46664 World AIDS Day 2004 Concert in CapeTown, South Africa!]
http://46664.tiscali.com/webCast/video.htm [Watch a videocast of the all-star 46664 concert]
http://www.mandela-children.ca [Nelson Mandela Children's Fund - Canada]
http://www.oprah.com/presents/2003/christmaskindness/pres_2003_ck_main.jhtml [Oprah's campaign to give hope to AIDS orphans]
http://www.grassrootsoccer.org [Using the power of Soccer in the fight against AIDS - founded by Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn]
For additional information about HIV/AIDS and its global impact:
For information about traditional African beadwork:
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This website was launched: January 10, 2004