They cry and yearn to be held, but there are not enough arms to hold them. Many of them have watched their parents die. Some have parents who are too sick to care for them. But all of them want the same thing—to be loved and to know that they matter.
They are just like you and me, but they are the tiniest victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some, like their parents, are HIV positive. Others are considered lucky and have escaped infection. All are residing in an orphanage with a future that is uncertain.
How do I know what an AIDS orphan wants and needs? Because on a hot August Day in 2008, I stood inside an orphanage that houses orphans affected by HIV/AIDS and I held my son for the first time. So it should come as no surprise that tomorrow, on World AID Day, I will join millions of people around the globe to unite in the fight against AIDS.
World AIDS Day aims to educate, inform and empower people to join the effort to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic.According to UNAIDS, more than 34 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS and a staggering 3.3 million of them are under the age of 15. The HIV/AIDS epidemic claims the lives of 1.7 people each year. With 2.5 million new infections occurring annually, the epidemic is far from over.
But there is hope. (more…)