Ministry celebrates breakthrough in HIV/AIDS fight

By September 28, 2009

International (MNN) — There has been a huge advance in the
fight against HIV/AIDS. Researchers
developed a vaccine that got positive results in teaching the immune system to
recognize the virus and defeat it.  

Kim Buttonow with
Food for the Hungry is cautiously optimistic. "Although it's hopeful, and it's
great information, and we're very glad for the breakthrough, it won't be for a
few more years that we'll be able to see this on the field."  

That opinion is shared. Seemingly as soon as the cheers rang out, the reality hit. The goal is sobering: stopping the spread of
the virus that causes AIDS. The time frame that represents is seen in the
shadows of the infected millions who won't survive to see that day.

Buttonow says their team is watching the developments with
interest, because "Food for the
Hungry is involved in prevention care and support for people living with HIV.
We also have a small treatment component as well." 

FH provides HIV prevention by providing information and
encouraging healthier choices and behavior change to equip youth and adults to
protect themselves. This includes encouraging abstinence, faithfulness,
and risk reduction for youth and adults.

Educational messages are also shared with pregnant and
lactating women to enable them to deliver and raise the next HIV-free
generation.

The team also provides Compassionate Care for those who are
infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. This includes basic nursing care,
counseling, prayer, nutrition, livelihood support and friendship for infected
children, youth and adults.

Buttonow alluded to a small treatment component: FH works with their field teams to help the
infected through drugs commonly known as
"Anti-Retrovirals" which can lower the viral lode in an infected
person and enable them to live longer.

With the vaccine field use years away, FH will continue to
partner with churches in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and
Haiti. "In our prevention program, we have 1.4 million youth and adults
enrolled, and we have been working with about 100,000 pastors, teachers,
leaders and others through a very large
prevention program funded by the U.S. government." 

Why churches? They
can teach the most life-changing course to follow. Buttonow says, "They also reach people where they're
neediest. I think the hope of the Gospel is what these people need to hear most
and that they are not alone in their suffering." Click here if you want to partner with FH in
this field.

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