Worldwide AIDS Crisis
Scientists estimate that one-third of the population of planet earth will die from AIDS before this disease runs its course.
AIDS has no known cure.
42 million people have AIDS worldwide (2003). One-third of them do not know they have AIDS.
22 million people have died from AIDS as of 2003.
In some countries, girls aged 6 mos. to 6 yrs. are raped by a man or boy with AIDS because of a belief that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. These girls, now infected themselves, become outcasts and are dependent on people like us to care for them.
An estimated 6,000 people a day become infected with HIV/AIDSóone every 14 seconds. The majority of them are young women or girls.
A child is orphaned by AIDS every 14 seconds.
What do we do?
There is a story about a boy walking along the beach. Overnight the ocean had washed tens of thousands of starfish onto the beach and they lay dying on the sand. The boy spent his day picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the ocean. A man, watching the scene, approached the boy and said, "This task is too big for you. You'll never get all those starfish back into the ocean. You're wasting your time. What you're doing won't make any difference at all." The boy looked at the starfish in his hand, looked back at the man and said, "It will make a difference to this one," as he tossed it back into the ocean.
This world is God's. Perhaps the AIDS crises is too big for us to handle. Perhaps only God can take care of it. But we can nevertheless do something. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us. We can help someone.
Please listen to me. This message is a matter of life and death to millions of people throughout the world, from the United States to China to Africa. We have got to take this seriously and we've got to do it now.
Like the Bubonic Plague
If you know anything about the history of the Bubonic Plague, the disease that wiped out a quarter of Europe in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, then you know AIDS has the same Biblical proportions. Scientists are expecting that perhaps one third of the population of earth will be wiped out before we start to control this disease.
AIDS, just as any virus, is no respecter of gender, age or race. AIDS attacks children, young mothers, young men, the elderly, everybody. Just because in the United States it started in the gay community is no reason to think it is a gay disease. The Bubonic Plague began in Italy in 1346 by one sailor. That is no reason to think it was a sailor disease nor that God was trying to punish Italian sailors. Anybody who thinks AIDS is Godís punishment on gays just donít know God nor the love of God for his children. They may know their own doctrine, but they donít know the Lord.
The Bubonic Plague in London ended in the London Fire of 1663. That fire killed the rats and fleas that were spreading the plague. A fire that destroyed a large portion of London may have seemed like a curse and punishment sent in the middle of a horrible plague. However, only sixteen people died in the fire and the plague was stopped. What seemed like another curse upon a curse turned out to be a cleansing fire sent by a wise and loving God.
Specific Need in South Africa
South Africa is specially hard hit by AIDS. Common folk lore has it that if an AIDS-infected man has sex with a virgin, he will be cured! (This same belief may have already spread to other surrounding nations.) Therefore, men and boys with AIDS seek a virgin in order to be cured, and what more like girl will they find to be a virgin than an infant? Therefore these men and boys are having forced sex - rape - with girls as young as six months old.
Obviously that's not going to cure them, so who knows? They may try it again and again, hoping to gain life and health.
These young girls, in the meantime, not only are no longer virgins but they also have AIDS. They are rejected by their family and village. They have no place to go but a home that takes care of children like this... except, there are very few or no home that take care of children like this.
In addition to that situation, many people are dying of AIDS, leaving their children with no parents. It is common for both mother and father to die of AIDS, leaving no one to care for their children. Their aunts and uncles may also have AIDS and be dying. What can we do for these children?
We can support Laughing Child International! This organization, based in South Africa's Cape Town, cares for young girls who have AIDS. As I said, we may not be able to meet all the needs, but we can meet a need. We can care for someone. We can do something. This is one of the things we can do.
What Do We Do?
Today there is still no cure for AIDS. We have medicines that help, that slow its destructive spread and that relieve some symptoms, but we have no cure. Are we going to have to wait for God himself to intervene and sent fire on earth to cleanse it?
We can pray to God for help and wisdom. At the same time we must do something about it ourselves. We must help. We must show ourselves to be God's children. Whether gay or straight, we must work together against this common foe.