Today is World AIDS Day. Did you know that? Have you heard? It seems to me that we (as a country) have not been talking as much about AIDS in recent years. There was a time (in the early 90's) when the AIDS epidemic was featured on news programs daily. Magic Johnson brought attention to the issue in 1991. I remember going to visit the traveling AIDS Memorial Quilt when it came to a city near me...it was a very powerful sight to see...so many people who lost their lives to the disease.
Fast forward about 20 years, and here we are today. I held my little Ethiopian girl today and thought about how AIDS has not really gone away at all. Just because we don't hear about it every day in the U.S. doesn't mean it doesn't continue to change lives, cause heartache, and in Africa specifically, leave millions of children orphaned. We are choosing to keep much of Grace's story private (until she is ready to learn more about it and can decide what she wants to share), but we do know that her immediate (birth) family in Ethiopia has suffered the loss of some of their family members. Now...when someone dies in rural Ethiopia, they are not always dying in a medical facility or hospital. More than likely, they are succumbing to a disease that has been labeled something very vague. I am quite confident that many of these "diseases" are the result of untreated HIV/AIDS.
In memory of the millions in Africa that have lost their lives to AIDS, I took a few minutes to make a digital quilt square to add the the ONE campaign's digital AIDS Quilt. It was fun. It only took a few minutes. Most importantly, it reminded me of those affected by AIDS in Africa. It breaks my heart that people continue to die when two pills a day that cost about 40 cents can keep someone with HIV and AIDS alive and healthy.
The quilt will raise awareness and symbolize a pledge that people are making to help eradicate HIV by the year 2015.
To make a digital quilt square of your own go HERE.
***In sub-Saharan Africa, 4,400 people die daily from preventable, treatable disease
***Every day in Africa, 4,700 people become infected with the virus
***Africa has been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other region in the world; over two-thirds of people living with and dying from HIV are in Africa
***In sub-Saharan Africa, young females are three times more likely to have HIV than their male counterparts.
(statistics found in Shayne Moore's book Global Soccer Mom- a great read!)
AND...did you know that you can buy some really good (RED) products for Christmas gifts?
(RED) harnesses the power of companies and people to help fight AIDS in Africa. To date, over $180 million has been raised with 100% of the money going to work on the ground. Over 7.5 million people have been impacted through Global Fund programs that (RED) supports. When you choose to buy (RED) a portion of the profits goes to AIDS programs. Current (PRODUCT)RED Proud Partners include: American Express (UK only), Apple, Beats by Dr Dre, Belvedere, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Gap, Nike, Penfolds and Starbucks and Special Edition partners include: Feed, Girl Skateboards, Mophie, Nanda Home, Shazam, Solange Azagury-Partridge and Timbuk2.