December 1st marks World AIDS Day, a call to unite in the fight against HIV.
Every year, I take my daughters to visit their birth families in Cambodia, where the prevalence of HIV / AIDS is among the highest in Asia. On each trip, I take a box of second-hand children’s toys and clothes to donate to New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC), an HIV orphanage we support. This year I had to find another home for my box of goodies, which is more positive than it sounds. Thanks to the availability of antiretroviral drugs in Cambodia, the orphanage rarely receives HIV-infected babies these days, so they have no use for baby clothes and toys. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-infected pregnant women reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission, and such prevention efforts by the Cambodian government and their partners have helped reduce the spread of the disease. That’s something to celebrate in the fight against HIV.
Of course, I still take my daughters’ second-hand toys and clothes when I fly to Cambodia each year because there is plenty of need for handouts in such a poor country. Cambodia has many issues to overcome, poverty being one of them, but thankfully HIV / AIDS is one area it seems to be tackling successfully.