Nov
19

HIV+

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I can only think of one good thing resulting from Charlie Sheen announcing his HIV+ status on national news: It puts the virus back on the front page and allows us to potentially reduce the associated stigma while debunking so many falsehoods circulating via social media.

I work with HIV+ hospitalized children in Kyiv, Ukraine. When I first began my ministry there I admit that I was a little nervous. I had not done much research on the transmission of the virus, but I felt comfortable that if I did not come into contact with bodily fluids that I was in pretty good shape. I could certainly go hug on these orphans and make their days a little less routine. Safe.

But then I was wiping tears and runny noses. Children were sneezing and coughing in my face. I was changing diapers. Was I putting myself at risk? Yeah, time to do some research.

I was thankful to discover several solid sources of information, including Project Hopeful, a ministry based in Chicago. I was relieved to learn the truth. And I became involved with an organization that was creating a conference in Kyiv to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and to help relieve the stigma there. What an eye opener! Priests blamed the virus on an individual’s personal sin. Communion was denied. Hospital employees were afraid to treat children with this diagnosis. A death sentence.

Thankfully, Project Hopeful has been about stomping out stigma for years now. Families are adopting HIV+ children from around the world and these children are becoming strong voices for truth. We’re even discovering more people willing to volunteer among this population in Ukraine, but we have a long way to go to reduce preconceived ideas about these children.

Take a look at this video by clicking the link below:

Truth Pandemic

Interesting, eh?

Now, please start spreading some truth about this subject!

Truth.

It’s contagious.

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