The Challenge of HIV/AIDS
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV is still a major global health issue..
In the area where we work in Uganda, AIDS was first observed in the early 1980s. Since then we have been engaged in developing programs and materials to educate for the prevention of the spread of HIV, in outreach programmes, involving hundreds of local health volunteers.
We have established many orphan support and guardian support programs in different countries. One of the most innovative responses involved the creation of farm schools for teenage orphans in Uganda, a model that has been replicated by WHO in other countries.
Testing for the virus and peer education are a major part of our response to the challenge, as are counselling, street education using puppets and street drama, providing home-based care for the terminally ill, and support for families.
The impact of AIDS on an organization like MMM, which was established to heal and cure, made it necessary for us to arrange workshops to ensure care of the carers when we adapted to a professional service where death was all too often a daily companion.
In the past ten years or so treatment for HIV has become available with the advent of antiretroviral drugs. These have dramatically changed the management of HIV and made a near-normal life expectancy possible for millions of people. Nevertheless maintaining drug treatment programmes is expensive and many people develop resistance to treatment. Though their quality of life improves greatly they are often not able to work as before. HIV/AIDS remains a huge challenge in the face of limited health care resources.