Speech on HIV/AIDS in Africa aimed at 14 to 16 year olds

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I am here today to represent the muted voices of those AIDS sufferers in Africa, to forward their cry for help, their cry for a world of hope, love and support, a world free of discrimination, but most importantly, their cry for a world free from the tragic consequences of AIDS. In 2007 alone over four hundred thousand of the world’s teenagers were infected with the deadliest disease worldwide (1) AIDS. Millions more teenagers have had their parents, their childhood, and their education stolen from them by the deadliest disease worldwide (1) AIDS.

Those spared a family bereavement still have friends, neighbours, and role models snatched from them by the deadliest disease worldwide (1) AIDS. But this does not have to last; with the 1 that you might otherwise spend on a fizzy drink, a bus journey or a CD you can purchase a red ribbon at the end of this assembly and join millions others in leading a heroic crusade against the deadliest disease worldwide. There is a common misconception in many teenagers and adults alike that HIV and AIDS are two different terms for the same disease (1) this is far from the horrific truth.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, better known as HIV, comes first in the unforgiving cycle and can be transferred through unprotected sex, drug misuse, or childbirth. There is nothing stopping many HIV sufferers from leading a normal life, however without medical treatment the merciless virus can develop into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS, a state of living so poor that the victim can’t even feed themselves, let alone fight back. This is the part of the journey where our money can step in and demand better (1).

Better quality of medical treatment, better schemes to raise awareness, better support for those close to waving the unwanted white flag of surrender. One person who is desperate for our support is Jacqueline Barasa, (show pictures on slideshow during this paragraph) a 19 year old HIV infected widow, mothering her late husbands two HIV infected children. Her children’s thin, lifeless bodies barely have the strength to hold them upright and they have no energy to walk, far less play.

Helger, who is two and a half, and Lawrence who is four sit quietly all day long as they can no longer speak, seemingly unaware of the massacre going on inside their bodies. The only person in Jacqueline’s family fit enough to work is her 54 year old mother, Agnes, who labours daily in a gallant bid to feed and care for her daughter and Grandchildren. Her work is rarely enough to even provide a meal a day for her relatives because after three years of drought, the field that used to provide them with maize and vegetables is now bare.

Without our help Agnes will be the only family member left within a matter of months as Jacqueline and her children fall into the grip of AIDS. With our help Jacqueline and her children can get access to food and treatment before AIDS claims 3 more victims to its list of millions. Can you really let the lives of a young mother and 2 innocent children lie on your conscience? 26 million men, women, and children have died from AIDS already, how many more will it take before we wake up? Stand up and be counted.

This is the time for the youth of today to finally make a positive name for ourselves, history will judge our generation on how we respond to the HIV emergency in Africa, whether we stood around with watering cans and watched a whole continent burst into flames or not. Our children and their children in around 50 years from now will ask; what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa because of HIV? I want to be able to say our generation stood up and did what is right for mankind, but I cannot do this alone, your help is needed.

Let me assure you that your will be solely invested in helping those worst affected, through the development of anti retroviral medicines, building of hospitals and provision of education schemes throughout Africa to raise awareness. Educated youth today will ensure a more empowered future generation. If we can work together, we can free our generation and future generations from the threat of AIDS and the terrible damage that it can wreak on the lives of so many people. Your money is the weapon the world has longed for to put an end to this inhumane torture. Give AIDS sufferers a chance at life. Give money.

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