Imagine losing your parents. Living in an orphanage. Then facing the stigma that comes with living with HIV. And all of this happening while you’re still a child.
That was John’s story growing up in Malawi. But thanks to generous friends like you, his story didn’t end there. Today, John is involved with Partners in Hope, one of the organizations that partners with Blood:Water to care for people who are living with HIV and to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
He is an expert advocate for young people facing HIV/AIDS, and you’re helping him make a life-changing difference!
John shares, “When I first joined Partners in Hope, I was a teen. I met friends in our club who are also on antiretroviral treatment [for HIV]. We became a family, understanding one another and learning how to handle life. I used to have a hard time staying on my medication. But the other teens did too, and now I have experience others will listen to.”
John teaches young people the truth about living with HIV, and more importantly, he lives out what he says:
“HIV is real. I have it. But my words to all is that it doesn’t have to kill. As long as you follow the care of your clinician, you can be happy. You can do anything!”
Blood:Water and our partners on the ground understand that it takes local leaders like John to create real change in their communities. They build strong relationships, come from the same neighborhoods, and deal with the same issues … they treat each other with dignity and provide much-needed acceptance.
And that’s the message of hope you’re helping John share with others.
“The stigma about HIV is there,” John says. “But if you accept your status as part of who you are, stigma and discrimination are useless. It doesn’t matter what someone else says.”
Thank you for coming alongside brave advocates like John and so many others to transform lives. You’re empowering real change in many communities across Africa. Click here to fuel this vital work.
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