Combatting HIV and Aids
World Aids Day is a day dedicated to raise awareness about Aids and the spread of HIV throughout the World.
Globally, an estimated 35 million people were living with HIV last year, and 3.2 million of these were children. The vast majority of people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2013.
An important part of Islamic Relief’s work is helping people who have Aids or are HIV positive to manage the virus and take control of their futures. Here are some examples of the work we’re doing across the world:
In South Africa, where the HIV prevalence is higher than anywhere else in the world, we run Positive Living, a project aimed at preventing HIV and Aids, and offering care and support for people with the virus. In South Africa, around 900 people die every day from Aids-related illnesses. Through our project, we encourage people to go for HIV testing, so treatment and support can be given. Weekly support groups are offered to those affected. The groups give people a space to get moral support, and learn about HIV and Aids, busting myths about the virus.
In Ethiopia, where almost a quarter of orphaned children have lost a parent to an Aids-related illness, we have enabled youth services to engage children in planning for their futures. At one youth centre, in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, we have provided tables and chairs, and more than 600 reference books for a library. We also sponsor 1,369 children, meeting their basic needs and helping them gain an education. As part of our outreach, we teach the children about HIV and Aids prevention.
We work in Mogadishu, Somalia, and have constructed the only health centre in a camp for internally-displaced people. There and in Banadir, in coastal Somalia, we have delivered community health education on a wide range of topics from breastfeeding to HIV and Aids.
We also offer home-based education to women in Afghanistan. We teach reading, writing and basic maths, family economics, HIV and Aids prevention, drug awareness and good hygiene practices to women in Bamiyan and Waras districts in central Afghanistan.
Islamic Relief continues to raise much-needed awareness to help combat the spread of the virus, and to support those infected and those affected.