The world cup has begun! “This year, South Africa will become the first African country to host the FIFA World Cup. In the month long tournament, 64 matches will be played in nine cities across the country. In the same month, almost 23,000 South Africans will die from AIDS.” (www.avert.org)
And those are just the statistics in South Africa. There were over 2 million deaths in 2008, the latest global statistics that we have from UNAIDS.
It’s not over! There are over 33 million people around the world living with this virus. I know- I am one of them! I have certainly seen many changes in the past 20 years. Those red AIDS ribbons aren’t so sexy anymore. People have moved on to other causes. In fact, many people in the general public think that someone living with HIV can just take a few pills and head back to work.
Newsflash: HIV/AIDS medications aren’t available to everyone! And certainly not to all of the 5.7 million people infected with HIV in South Africa.
Even for those of us who do have access to the medications, they can be extremely expensive. I have medical insurance, and my last pharmacy co-pay was $1000.
And the side effects are sometimes just as prohibitive as the cost. While pharmaceutical research is helping to improve these, the long term effects of being on medications are escalating. Even if we are “living longer”, science is proving that we are “aging quicker”.
I’m not complaining- I am grateful to be alive to continue in this fight against HIV. I am grateful to have access to life-sustaining medications. I am grateful to have a loving husband and supportive family. But most of all- I am grateful to Jesus who loves me even with HIV! Or should I say especially with HIV! He is my hope! He is my joy! He is my strength!
So in His strength, let’s work together to continue to pray and fight this pandemic. We need to “keep on keeping on!” There is so much more to do…
As we enjoy the World Cup, please pray for those in South Africa.
- That this event held in their country would not be a time for this disease to spread, but it would be a time of even greater awareness and education.
- That the 5.7 million people documented to be living with HIV in South Africa will say “it stops here!” We each have a personal responsibility in stopping this virus from being transmitted to one more person.
- That they would have access to life-sustaining medications
- That these medications would be available to prevent another 70,000 babies born with HIV in South Africa this year
- That the local/global church would rise up to care for the 1.4 million AIDS orphans in South Africa.
- That Jesus would rule and reign, in this country, at the World Cup, and in the hearts of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue!
For the real victory being won is not the World Cup, it is the victory that we have in Jesus!
“Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. I Corinithians 15:57