Boston Globe Examines HIV/AIDS in Zambian Town, HIV/AIDS Hospice Care in Africa

The Boston Globe on Sunday examined life for young people living in Livingstone, Zambia, where it is hard for them "to trust the future, or even to imagine one," in a place where HIV/AIDS "touches just about everyone." According to U.N. estimates, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in one generation has reduced life expectancy in Zambia from 51 years to 32 years and eight months, "perhaps the lowest in the world," the Globe reports. In the 80,000-resident town of Livingstone, HIV prevalence among adults has increased over many years, and 30% of residents are thought to have the virus, yet the "conversation about this most obvious fact of life and death is only now beginning," according to the Globe. People in the community "are finding their way, summoning power from simple acts of accountability, being tested, being safe and ... learning to talk honestly and openly about the threat that envelops them," the Globe reports. In addition, many young women in the town "speak proudly of being virgins," and "some couples talk of their determination to be faithful to each other" to prevent the spread of the virus, the Globe reports. The number of "white weddings," in which couples decide to abstain from sex until marriage, also is increasing in the town, according to the Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 7/9).

HIV/AIDS Hospice Care in Africa
The Globe on Monday examined how the work of some hospice caregivers in Africa "has been upended" from "helping the desperately ill manage their pain and find a good death" to "escort[ing] back into life" people with HIV/AIDS. In Mamelodi, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, hospice workers once referred most of their patients to the hospital, where they died after a few days, but today the hospice workers there visit patients' homes, "bringing a message of life but also encountering all the entanglements and troubles and needs of the living," the Globe reports. Caregivers' work ranges from teaching parenting skills, explaining paperwork and mitigating family disputes to comforting patients by singing or praying, according to the Globe. Hospice care is desperately needed in Africa, and the need will continue to increase as more HIV-positive people become sick, "a fact that African governments and foreign aid donors, like the [U.S.], are slowly awakening to," the Globe reports. There are 140 hospices in sub-Saharan Africa, or about one for every five million people (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 7/10).

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