World AIDS day highlights Christian work

By November 28, 2006

International (MNN) — 40 million people have died because of AIDS. The number is growing steadily each year. While the Christian response to this has been slow, many groups are helping. Compassion International is just one organization that’s doing that.

Doctor Scott Todd is Compassion’s AIDS Initiative Director. He says Compassion’s desire is to remove barriers to a child’s development. “We want them to grow to be healthy, confident young people that can become Christians so they can glorify God through their lives,” he says. “And so, when we see things that threaten their development we try to reduce those risks or remove those barriers and obviously AIDS is a huge threat.”

According to Todd, it’s an urgent situation. “We have thousands of children in our programs that are infected with HIV.” He added, “Last year alone over 500,000 children died due to this virus. And, the real tragedy of that is the majority of that is preventable.”

That’s why Compassion has the AIDS Initiative that gives HIV/AIDS infected victims help. “Compassion does education and awareness campaigns. We facilitate the access of those pregnant women and young moms to the clinic and provide them with anti-retroviral therapy that’s a drug that has about a 60 to 70 percent reduction in the probability of the virus infecting that newborn.”

The infection rate doesn’t seem to be easing much. Todd says, “Every day there are 14,000 new infections with HIV. 2,000 of those are children that are born into the world with HIV as a result of infection in their mother. Another 6,000 are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.”

That’s where Compassion is focusing their fight.

Local churches are doing everything they can to help address the problem, but the lack of resources limits them. “We need to come alongside of them in the fight. We need to commit to join them and provide what we can and in many cases that means financial resources.”

Their work is having a spiritual impact on Muslim communities, Todd says. Leaders of a local mosque in Tanzania tried to shut down the church-based program. “It was the parents of these kids, who rose up against the leaders of this mosque saying, ‘how can you try to shut this down? They’re teaching them to read. They’re providing them nutrition, they’re loving on them. Basically the leaders of this mosque lost face and many, many families in that community came to know Christ.”

Compassion’s AIDS Initiative needs you’re help. Go to https://www.compassion.com/contribution/giving/childvictimsofhiv.htm to contribute.

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