HIV (AIDS) in Africa

The disease called “AIDS” was first recognized in the United States in 1981 as the Centers for Disease Control tried to make headway in this condition that seemed to target gay men in New York City. It soon became evident, however, that this disease was not limited to men or to sexual contact. Carried in the blood and body fluids the HIV virus was eventually isolated. Over the next decade treatment evolved from a single drug to a cocktail of medications needed to control the condition. The primary effect of this infection is that immunity from certain lymphocytes in the body is markedly reduced. This has a wide-ranging effect of allowing life-threatening infections and cancers to rage in infected individuals.
Today there are an estimate 33 million infected persons worldwide and over a million in the U.S. alone. Treatment, however, no longer requires a handful of pills and capsules. The medications are much more effective and the disease is managed more like a chronic illness for those who can receive treatment. While this is true in nations like the United States it is not the norm in much of the world, particularly Africa.
AIDs in Africa is still a long way from being controlled. Today there are, yet, many barriers to treating this horrible disease in many nations throughout the world. Sexual practices, political unrest, and a general lack of resources contribute to the lack of progress in dealing with HIV. The lack of basic understanding of hygiene can lead to inadvertent infection in healthcare settings and the lack of testing processes can cause devastating transmission of this disease through transfusions and other injections. Access to the more effective drugs is limited so older, less effective regimens are utilized. Likewise, it is often believed that taking a single dose of a medication may lessen the risk of the disease. Add to this the temptation to profit from reselling medications and effective management of HIV becomes elusive.
It seems likely that until a vaccine can be developed to prevent HIV infection (a long way off), this disease will continue to rage in less developed nations, especially in Africa. Because there is now effective treatment that slows the progression of AIDS, we don’t read as much about it or hear about the devastating effect is has on peoples’ lives. Nevertheless, the name still brings fear to most people when they are asked. In Africa the disease of AIDS is so commonplace that nearly everyone is touched by its horror at some time. It is the new plague that must be braved by missionaries who go into the parts of the world where there are no safety nets and one more barrier to reaching those who need help and who need God.
Research has done much to bring this disease to its knees, but treatment is still too expensive for the huge populations affected outside of the developed world. Let’s direct our efforts to supporting ongoing trials and in getting the newest treatments to places dying from AIDS.

Here are some sites where you can find information or give generously


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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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