4 Things Working With HIV Can Teach Us About Fighting Ebola
(RNS) Every year on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day focuses attention on the disease that last year infected another 2.1 million people and took more than 1.5 million lives, according to UNAIDS. After 26 years of World AIDS Days, the death toll stands at a staggering 39 million.
And yet, within the HIV/AIDS community there is optimism. Many believe new infections can be stopped completely, and the annual death toll has been cut in half.
Meanwhile, the world’s attention has turned to Ebola, a disease that has claimed nearly 5,500 lives, primarily in West Africa.
For those who remember the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, some of the stories about the Ebola crisis are uncomfortably familiar. The belief in myths and rumors over facts, the desire to hide one’s illness until it has progressed too far and the calls to repentance from faith leaders can all seem discouraging.
Fortunately, years of working with those infected with HIV/AIDS have taught health and humanitarian workers lessons that can be applied to the current crisis:
The physical and spiritual worlds are intertwined
When Americans are ill, they call the doctor. For many Africans, illness requires a visit to a “traditional healer” who will prescribe an herbal —> Read More Here