As I wondered whether we should pursue adopting an HIV+ child, the kinks in the Ugandan process began to fix themselves. We were on track to adopt a healthy baby as originally planned. But something about HIV kept tugging at my heart. So Brad and I began a research blitz, quickly exhausting every possible resource… after all, we would soon be matched with a healthy child. Any decisions to change route would have to be fast.
What we found was this: Medically speaking, taking care of an HIV+ child in the U.S. is incredibly manageable.
I am not trivializing the disease. Without care, HIV becomes AIDS and leads to certain death. But, wonder of all wonders, in the U.S., properly treated HIV no longer leads to death. It doesn’t even lead to a restricted life style. It doesn’t put siblings or parents in danger of contamination. In fact, the HIV specialist we saw told us that he would PREFER HIS CHILDREN to have HIV over diabetes! Talk about a shocker. This quote from Reuters makes the same point:
“HIV/AIDS still carries a terrible stigma when in fact it’s a condition more manageable than diabetes – more easily treated, and more easily avoidable.”
What was the only scary word in the quote above? STIGMA.
Stigma, stigma, stigma.
You see, Satan loves HIV/AIDS. It doesn’t matter that it is this incredibly wimpy virus that can’t survive long outside of the body. Satan doesn’t care the modern medicines kick HIV’s tail until it’s untraceable in its victim.
Satan is a liar.
We think of AIDS, and we think of immorality, or homosexuality, or promiscuity, or drugs, etc. We forget to think of PEOPLE. We see images of AIDS victims suffering terrible deaths all over the world. These very images, which God would use to stir our compassion and cause our ACTION, Satan instead uses to awaken our fear and cause our INACTION.
And the irony is that perhaps the most feared disease in the U.S. is also very manageable. Very wimpy.
Of all of the special needs God may call us to with adoption, HIV is probably the EASIEST one to deal with. It requires pills twice a day. Four check-ups a year. Once under control, it should stay under control. It does not put the rest of your family in danger. Some mothers explain that their HIV+ children get sick LESS OFTEN than the rest, because their medicines are so effective at strengthening the immune system.
For very little difficulty, you could save a life. We could save a life.
These are the facts. At the end of this series, I will give you a bullet-point list of HIV/AIDS facts that will blow your mind. But behind the facts, and more important than the facts, are the children. Tomorrow, we will talk to the mothers of children affected by HIV. These sweet ones are not worried about their virus. If there is ever a worry, then it is about the STIGMA. Please read on. Let’s expose Satan’s lies.
- Intro: A Series is Born
- Part 1: How God Opened Our Hearts to HIV
- Part 2: HIV: I Want That Kind of Faith
- Part 3: (today) The Stigma is a Lie (and Satan is the Liar)
- Part 4: Talking to Mothers of HIV+ Children
- Part 5: What to Do, Now That You Know
- End: Helpful Facts About HIV/AIDS