Every dollar donated toward Project One Million can purchase a month supply of antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, and are so powerful, they can save lives. Recent studies have discovered that inexpensive antibiotics can halve the deaths by AIDS and greatly improves quality of lives of HIV+ patients. AFCA provides antibiotics for HIV+ children for them to combat HIV and other infections that may endanger their lives or be obstacles in their daily life.
“This is a breakthrough in medical research which can help to save children’s lives all over the world.” – International Development Secretary Hilary Benn
Co-trimoxazole is the newly discovered breakthrough. Drug resistance to common antibiotics can be widespread in some HIV-stricken areas because they have been widely used to treat HIV with or without anti-retroviral (ART) drugs to which patients can also build resistance. What scientists have found out in recent years is that co-trimoxazole is effective regardless of patients’ level of resistance to this antibiotic.
Advantages of Co-trimoxazole
Co-trimoxazole is cheaper and more readily available than ART drugs. Most of the HIV+ children cannot afford medical expenses on their own, let alone ART drugs. As mentioned in my article on medication, there are two lines of ART drugs that are commonly used to treat HIV, both of which build resistance. This means if a patient has built resistance to the first one, he or she will need the second one because the first one is no longer effective. If the same patient has built resistance to the second one, he or she will not have any ART drug to use. In order for these ART drugs to stay effective, they need to be taken daily, which can be difficult due to the cost of the drugs and poor infrastructure or extreme weather which can hinder delivery of drugs. Now there is co-trimoxazole which can prolong the patients’ lives up to 7 to 10 years if taken daily and it can keep full-blown AIDS at bay by protecting the child from what are known as opportunistic infections.
Because co-timoxazole is an antibiotic, it will not treat HIV, but it can treat a number of infections, including a variety of upper and lower respiratory tract infections, renal and urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal tract infections, skin and wound infections, septicaemias, and other infections caused by sensitive organisms. Infections such as these, which may not seem dangerous to us, can be just as fatal to HIV+ children’s weakened immune system. These infections are very well preventable, let alone treatable, so daily co-trimoxazole treatment can save many lives!
HIV+ children could use any help they can receive. These children are likely to have witnessed the painful deaths of their parents and other family members, are left with emotional scars and an overwhelming amount of chores, which can easily be too much for young children to handle. They fight with fear of dying the same way their parent(s) did. With so much to do every day and so little help they receive, they feel alone. Dr. Lucie Cluver and her colleagues at Oxford University have compiled a report on psychological impact of HIV on AIDS orphans (you can view the report here). Dr. Cluver says in an interview with Voice of America that stigma attached to AIDS causes gossip, bullying and fear, that they are exposed to unhygienic environment while talking care of sick family members, making themselves susceptible to infections, feeling under pressure and stress to do other chores and very responsible for the sick family members they take care of. They are at high risk of becoming both physically and mentally ill.
How We Can Help
Donations help provide them with daily necessities, which will ease the stress they deal with each day. By making a donation, you can also show them that they are not fighting alone. If you are not able to making a donation, and you would like to do something, please spread the word by talking or blogging about Project One Million, or your concerns about AIDS orphans and HIV+ children, sharing the Project One Million video or AFCA blog on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr or whatever you enjoy using. Every thought turned into action, however small it may seem, can make a world of difference in lives of people in need.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” – Elie Wiesel