South Africa (MNN) — South Africa has the worst HIV/AIDS rate in the world. According to CIA studies, at least 17.8% of the nation's adults are afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
A large number of factors have contributed to the problem. One Operation Mobilization worker, Holly, notes, "It's said that women born in South Africa have a higher chance of being raped than learning how to read. When statistics show that one in four people in South Africa is HIV positive, the two facts do not look good for the future of girls and women in this country."
Holly says a woman in South Africa is raped every 17 seconds. With HIV/AIDS spreading rapidly as a result, OM has been trying to counteract the trend for years.
Holly is just one of the many who have been a part of OM's AIDSHope program.
The AIDSHope team is based in Mamelodi, reaching out to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The program brings a message of hope through a daily after-school program for vulnerable youth.
Each child at AIDSHope receives meals, has a safe place to play, gets help with homework, and learns about Jesus. It's all in an effort to support children and keep them HIV free.
Jewel is just one of the many kids at AIDSHope. Holly says the 12-year-old girl was orphaned by AIDS and is now living with her grandmother and siblings. Her older brother is to make decisions for the family.
Now that Jewel has been educated about HIV/AIDS at AIDSHope, she is concerned that her brother will contract HIV, especially while he is in initiation school. Initiation school is a must for her brother to be considered a man, but he will go through a circumcision ritual where the same knife is used on each boy. He will also be expected to sleep with as many girls as he can to "prove" his manhood.
After hearing about Christ and learning more and more at AIDSHope, Jewel has been praying for her brother the whole time.
Because she has been educated on the issue and has the support of so many at AIDSHope, Jewel is now at a much lower risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. But millions of other kids just like Jewel could still get the virus at any minute.
Pray for OM's program to help stop this spread. Learn more about their work here.