This blog post comes from Dave Evans, U.S. president and global executive officer at Food for the Hungry.
A Renewed Dynamism for the Fight Against HIV and AIDS
World AIDS Day 2011 came and went last Thursday. But my guess is that most of the world did not notice. And although incredible advances have been made over the past decade in reducing HIV/AIDS rates and helping AIDS victims to miraculously come back to life (the so-called Lazarus Effect), there are more large hills to climb in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
There are still 1,000 children being born with HIV every day in the world due to transmission of the disease from their mothers. Further, infection rates among adults still remain a huge problem in many places. Lastly, more AIDS victims still need access to treatment. The battle is clearly not over.
With this in mind, I was privileged to participate Thursday in a blockbuster AIDS Day event in Washington DC. The amazing list of speakers included President Obama, former Presidents Bush and Clinton, Bono, Alicia Keys, Elton John, the President of Tanzania, and a host of other famous people (check out the video above). In the midst of this group, I found myself becoming re-energized for the work ahead by reviving the US faith-based HIV/AIDS alliance that Food for the Hungry helped to launch in 2003.
As Bono pointed out yesterday, “we’re nearly there”. That is, we’ve almost reached the tipping point that would lead to the end of the AIDS pandemic. And the Christian community has so much to offer this fight against AIDS. I have seen first hand (and heard second and third hand!) the amazing work that has been accomplished through Food for the Hungry and its many faith-based partners over the past decade in meeting the needs of tens of thousands of orphans and vulnerable children, increasing HIV prevention among millions of youth and adults, and helping thousands of AIDS victims to get the needed treatment which has allowed them to rise from the dead like Lazarus of old.
And so I sense a new dynamism coming back into the fight against AIDS, and particularly among those of us in the faith community. On that note, I am excited to announce the launch of a Christian HIV/AIDS Alliance, which will draw upon the previous work of the former AERDO HIV/AIDS Alliance. This new alliance will lead the way in bringing together many in the US Christian faith community to finish the good fight against this enemy which is called AIDS. We have been given much, and much is required of us. Let us now give until the scourge is ended.