The advances that have been made in the treatment of HIV disease are remarkable.
In richer nations, it has become a chronic, manageable disease. Prevention campaigns in some areas have also reaped dividends. Globally, the number of new HIV infections has declined by 21% since the estimated peak of the epidemic in 1997. However, there is no room for complacency. The number of people living with HIV in the UK has trebled in the last 10 years to around 100,000 people. Globally, in 2011, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1,000 children around the world are newly infected with HIV every day. Of these more than half will die as a result of AIDS because of a lack of access to HIV treatment. In this respect, HIV starkly highlights the on-going disparities between rich and poor nations.
Esau lives in Rwanda. Looking at his small stature, youâ€™d never guess that he is 14 years old. Disease has stunted his growth. Esau is one of 3.4 million children in the world living with HIV. His father died of AIDS and his mum is also HIV positive. Life for Esau was bleak. He was extremely sick. His mum left him to go and look for work in another village. The aunt that he stayed behind with was also HIV positive. Esau felt abandoned and in despair. But then he was discovered by BCTâ€™s project partner APRECOM. The love, counseling and prayer that he received from the dedicated APRECOM workers helped him to accept himself. He started to take his medications regularly and benefitted from the food supplements that he received. APRECOM paid for his education, and now he is doing well in the first year of senior school. His life has been turned around.
At last, HIV disease is on a downwards turn in some nations because of the dedication of countless unsung heroes over the past 3 decades. And Esauâ€™s life is on the up because of the dedication and sacrifice of the APRECOM team. Now that is something to celebrate!