World AIDS Day - Just Save One from Global Ministries on Vimeo.
Gifts to the Just Save One initiative will support HIV testing and education for parents as a way to prevent more children from becoming orphans due this disease, and also work to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.
By Julia Kayser*
October 24, 2013—“Every day my daughter asks me what she did wrong to get this disease,” a broken-hearted mother murmured in the Zimbabwean hospital hallway. Her nine-year-old had done nothing wrong. She’d simply acquired HIV from her mother at birth. Now, the virus wracked her body, and she faced the lifelong stigma of a disease associated with sin.
Linda Bales Todd was on a business trip in Zimbabwe when she met this child and her mother. Their hallway conversation still haunts her. “It was gut-wrenching,” she remembers. Todd serves on the board of directors of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF). Her experience in Zimbabwe gave her a vision for UMGAF that focuses on stopping mother-to-child transmission. “We just want to prevent that kind of suffering,” Todd says.
In 2011, UNICEF estimated that about 900 infants were infected with HIV every day. This type of transmission is preventable with anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy. But many mothers don’t know what they can do to protect their unborn children, and access to the right medications—especially in sub-Saharan Africa—is limited. Without proper care, infants and pregnant women are extremely vulnerable to HIV.
But a little bit of medicine can make a huge difference. Just $10 worth of anti-retrovirals can prevent an unborn child from contracting HIV. What this means is that preventing mother-to-child transmission is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep future generations free from HIV/AIDS.
You can partner with UMGAF by making a donation to Advance #982345. When you do so in 2014, UMGAF will award grant money to projects and ministries around the globe that focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission.
If you could save just one person’s life, would you do it? This is the question posed by UMGAF’s new Just Save One initiative. Everyone can afford to make a difference:
$10 can prevent the transmission of HIV to one unborn child.
$20 can provide nursing care for a child born HIV positive.
$50 can help educate young people and adults about how to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
$100 can supply more than 100 AIDS orphans with the nutrients they need to recover from dehydration.
Larger gifts can prevent children from being orphaned by providing HIV testing and education for their parents, or expand healthcare services to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
UMGAF would not exist if it were not for your continued generosity. Funds are critically low for this vital advance, and your support is urgently needed. Please take this opportunity to reach out to those who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. And don’t stop there-- multiply your gift by inviting others to Just Save One!
World AIDS Day is on Sunday, December 1. Get in touch with your local pastor to arrange a special service and get your whole congregation onboard!
Each week from now until World AIDS Day, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will publish a news story about a project that has been funded by UMGAF. Check back often, and forward these articles to family and friends.
Use the resources published by UMGAF to start an HIV/AIDS initiative in your local community.
Stigma perpetuates the pandemic! Reach out to someone you know who is infected or affected by HIV to let them know that they are accepted and welcome.
Donate now to Advance #982345, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, or Advance #3021770, Global Health.
*Julia Kayser is a writer and a regular contributor to www.umcor.org.