For more than three decades, the global response to help stop the spread of HIV and support people living with AIDS has been unrelenting. Today, the result of this effort is seen in the 23.3 million people who are accessing HIV treatment. Since 2010, new HIV infections have declined by an estimated 16%, with infections in children declining by 41%, according to UNAIDS.

Yet, 37.9 million people still live with AIDS. Poverty and prejudice compound for youth who can’t afford school fees so miss out on sexual and reproductive health education. Women and girls remain especially vulnerable to HIV and its complications due to gender inequality—every week, around 6,200 young women aged 15 to 24 become infected with HIV.

World AIDS day is observed each year on December 1. This year’s theme from UNAIDS—Communities Make the Difference—celebrates the role that communities play in the response to AIDs.

Members of a youth sexual and reproductive health club hold a meeting outside a church in Malawi. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

Youth Clubs Change Communities in Malawi

PWS&D’s youth clubs in Malawi are rallying community members to support each other in the journey towards a world without AIDs. According to Lyton Zgamo, these clubs can be the difference between life and death.

At 20 years of age, Lyton sought fame in his village, spending his time smoking, drinking and engaging with several sexual partners. Week after week, his friends would meet with him one-on-one to share the things they were learning in youth club, and to lovingly warn their friend about the potential consequences of his behavior.

Lyton was eventually persuaded by them to have his blood tested. His concern over the results convinced him of the gravity of the situation. When Lyton learned that he did not have HIV he decided to make a lasting change for the better.

“I think my friends from youth club saved my life. I joined them so that we can save many from such behaviours.”

Respond with us!

PWS&D is actively working with partners to help bring about a world where HIV and AIDs are distant memories. Our church is helping people fight against stigma and discrimination, access counselling, treatment and HIV testing, and learn to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. Care is provided to people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as support to orphans and vulnerable children.

This World AIDS Day, we continue to act in Christ’s hope. As we reflect on the challenges and successes in the fight against AIDS, let us be a community committed to praying for and supporting those whose lives are affected.

Donate Today! Donations can be made online, through your church, by mailing a cheque to the PWS&D office or by calling 1-800-619-7301 ext. 291.

Image of arrow pointing down2019 World AIDS Day Insert

Image of arrow pointing downWorld AIDS Day Order of Service