Saturday, October 24, 2009

R.I.P. My Friend

What has prompted me to write this post was a tragic event last week.

As you know, I do volunteer work in Ghana with an HIV prevention foundation based in the USA. Yesterday, one of the people I worked closest with passed away from complications of HIV and I am deeply saddened. So many people with HIV in Ghana (and other places) have no access to medicine.

My departed friend Augustus, as well as the other members of his support group, are treating themselves with Vitamin C and Selenium. It was very difficult for me to watch them line up and pool their little money to get the only “treatment” that they could afford.

He was a person who I could trust fully and was a selfless advocate for others. As President of the Brothers Keepers HIV+ support group, I watched him provide counseling, advice, education and sometime just a shoulder to cry on.

I will miss my friend very much when I return to Ghana this Christmas for 2 weeks of volunteering. He was a good man, working hard to help others. He was only 26 years old.

Sometimes it was not easy being in Ghana. The harshness of life and the tears of children and the demolished hopes of too many people can be difficult to witness so intimately. How can you speak optimistically to people who you know have no opportunity? How can you encourage hope in the future when there is no food on the table today?

For urban residents, the issue is money, not access. The life-saving drugs needed are at the hospital and other clinics. In the USA, if you do not have insurance, a one month supply of ARV therapy costs well over $1,000. In Ghana, because of pharmaceutical and governmental supports, this cost is $5. Sadly, even that is too much for many in need.


Post a Comment

<< Home