Imagine living with a chronic disease. Imagine that you need to take daily medications to keep your illness under control. So far, not too difficult to imagine. People around the world live with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease and manage their diseases. Now imagine that your doctor doesn’t have medication for your illness. In fact, it is not just your doctor who doesn’t have the treatment; it is your entire town. Imagine that you need to take diagnostic tests every so often to track the progression of your disease. Alas, those tests aren’t available in your town either. Or, maybe your health center doesn’t even have a doctor to begin with!
Hard to imagine, isn’t it.
Yet, this is the reality for the HIV+ young people in the Education Fights AIDS associations in Cameroon.
Many of the villages where our associations are located do not have HIV treatment at the local health center. For the associations with access to HIV care in their villages, frequent, long-lasting stockouts of medications and diagnostic tests still make adhering to their treatment a challenge.
Our association members have the motivation and the desire to live healthy lives but a messed up medical system and ineffectual supply chain challenges that resolve at every turn. We at EFA seek to empower the young people with whom we work. In this case, we need to capitalize on their resolve to live healthy lives and support their efforts to seek treatment and medical care.
The Circle of Love works. It works to bridge the divide between the tenacity of our HIV+ association members to adhere to their treatment and the reality of life in Cameroon.
Take, for instance, our association member “Cecilia”. Cecilia has been living with HIV for some time but suddenly found herself particularly ill and no longer able to attend school. Her association helped her access the Circle of Love funds to go to a health clinic that has the CD4 test and ARVs available. She has bounced back in the most incredible of ways. She is attending school again. She isn’t just surviving, she is thriving…because of the care of her association members and the support of the Circle of Love.
We thank you, “Cecilia” thanks you. It is not always easy to see how we make a difference but the fact that “Cecilia” is back at school and flourishing is because of you and the Circle of Love.
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