Archive for AIDS

10 Ways to Teach Youth about Diseases that Most Impact the Poor

1.       Research Diseases that Kill People around the World. 

What percentage of kids between the ages of 0-5 die?

How many diseases come from water?  (see water link to teach more )

Have kids stand in line for a doctor…(give them each stories of what diseases they have, how long they walked to get there…then only half actually get to see the doctor for that 1 day he is in the village…the rest will have to wait until next month  he is in town, leaving several to likely die).  I have a handout here Health Line

2.       Malaria Resources

Nickles for Nets (Skeeter Tag is Great)

Free from Group (Comes with a net)

Stand 4 Kids

3.       Books about Maleria

Little Things Make Big Differences by John Nunes

4.      Books about HIV

I Know Someone with HIV/AIDS by Elizabeth Raum

Books by JAWS HIV/AIDS group

The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis

5.       DVDs about HIV

Journey to Jamaa,

Beat the Drum

Angels in the Dust (for a little older audience)

6.       Pack caregiver packages

(or bandaid kids to send to missionaries)

7.       Learn about Missionaries who heal the sick in body and soul

Hudson Taylor and David Livingstone as a starter

Modern Day ones are abundant and you can write to them

8.       Stories of Youth Heroes

Hoops for Hope


9.       Books about Other Diseases

Not Forgotten by Cal Ainley

10.       GO!

Go international (you can’t catch HIV by touching/hugging…and you can take Malaria meds/other vaccinations)

Go local to an HIV hospice/home or to the hospital/nursing home nearby (big hospitals have a pediatric HIV unit…serve there)

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AIDS and Adoption

AIDS in Africa vs AIDS in America (worlds apart in reality, and even thinking)

So, I have a passion to write this post mostly due to my own ignorance.  I am surprised that I didn’t know all the stuff I am going to share.  Though I am passionate about advocacy for HIV care/education internationally and am relatively on top of that news – I have been poorly educated on what HIV looks like in America and well developed countries.

I have come to research and know more about HIV in America because my husband and I considered adding HIV as something that we are open to among many medical/physical special needs for who we may be referred to in our adoption from Ethiopia.   My agency is awesome because they make me jump through all sorts of hoops to even be qualified in our home-study for HIV.  (We are required ahead of time to know all our insurance info for medications, know how much appointments would cost, know all about life-span, different disease prognosis/tests, and on and on and on).   In it, I don’t know how many times I just kept thinking or saying out loud, “How did I not know this?”  So, I wanted to see who else didn’t know this stuff.

14 years ago I held little babies with HIV or AIDS (depending on the stage of the virus) in Thailand in an orphanage.  Medications were only just starting to mainstream in America and a bunch of Asian babies were tragically never going to see over-priced pharmaceutical drugs at that time.  I remember thinking to myself:  I hope the church steps up to the plate on this one or we have missed the call.

Some of the church did step up to the plate and many still are, but sometimes it seems like Rockstars and Hollywood stars have had a bigger voice about AIDs and other poverty/justice issues than the church.  I went to Africa a couple of years ago and held the hand of a women dying of AIDS and prayed for her.  I confess she met what I pictured of AIDs – skinny, sickly, and black (I’m being too honest here I confess).  But when I look at the issue of AIDS (even before my new information), I see such a justice issue.  It is a 100% preventable disease. Education and drugs are a HUGE part of that prevention (Life transformation is the other key).  I admit, we were scared to adopt an HIV child because we don’t know the facts, but knowing the fact changes things

The facts  …even has a webinar you can watch)

This stuff I kind of knew, but wanted to verify due to small fears inside me:

HIV is only transferred through semen, vaginal fluid, breastfeeding, pregnancy, and intravenous sharing of blood.  HIV is an extremely fragile virus, so once it hits the air, it dies.  There has never been a documented case of anyone contracting the disease in any way besides this.  HIV kids can swim, bathe, kiss, have diapers changed, hug, share cups with (etc) other people and will never share the virus that way.  In addition to how specific the virus is transferred, when an HIV patient is on treatment, the virus becomes so low in their system that it is considered “undetectable” and then isn’t even very easily contracted in the known ways of transferring the virus.

This stuff I was blown away by:

It is estimated that a child with HIV can live a NORMAL life span (the lower end of that suggested life span right now is about 65) with the virus, even possibly never having the virus progress to AIDS if on treatment.  (I had thought somehow that someone had like 5 years to live.  I’m an idiot).  HIV in America is considered a chronic, but manageable disease  (many websites said that diabetes is harder to manage, though obviously has no ability to spread which is why it doesn’t have the same stigma with it).  Why did I not know this?  Is this taught in high school health class or is it just scare tactics against HIV that are taught so stigmas/lies remain?

More stuff to knock your socks off (at least it did mine):

It is assumed that an HIV affected person can (or should) never have a child (at least this is what I had thought…again – I may be totally unlike the norm).  However, because of the drugs available to keep the HIV virus so low in a mother and/or father’s system, they have a 98% chance to having a baby WITHOUT HIV.  That is better than all mental health issues that are passed on and those are harder to manage.  AMAZING.

What does this look like to actually adopt?  Sounds like a lot of medical bills?

Well – Luckily pre-existing conditions are covered on almost all healthcare plans when adopting, including HIV.  In some states it doesn’t even matter because there is such good ADAP assistance care for HIV patients.  In my state, after my research, I found out that ALL the medications would be free and all someone would have extra are 4 $10 co-pays a year for a child to see a specialist.  But, there are grants to help cover more of the adoption costs for these kids because they are considered special needs.  Interesting how it may in the long run be better financially for us – not a reason to adopt, but again NOT what I had thought.

Why I am I writing this?

2 reasons

1st reason – I didn’t know all of this and if I didn’t, I’m guessing some others don’t also.  I believe knowledge changes things.  Little babies dying without families in another country without proper drugs vs. living a full life with the right health care is a justice issue to me.  I will propagate truth.  For me, it could influence on our perspective.

2nd reason – I don’t know what our future holds.  We may very well be bringing home a fairly healthy child/children from Ethiopia, but we felt called into adoption specifically to meet a need and I hope to see God do that (though I crave to squeeze any little munchkin at this point).  If our child has HIV, I am unsure about how much we will disclose that diagnosis to other.  Logically, there is almost nothing to fear (as I shared) so there is nothing to worry about in disclosing, but some feel there is reason to keep that status private.  Regardless – I felt like this info was good to share in case our child has HIV and in case we disclose that– so our family/friends can support us with all the facts.  Please research it for yourself.  God loves truth.  It brings life and hope.

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