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Executive Director of American Foundation for Children with AIDS Reports Account of Trip to Zimbabwe, One of Few Americans to Travel There Since Presidential Election


Launches Emergency Campaign to Raise Funds for Life-Saving Antibiotics.

Lawrence, KS, May 20, 2008 --(PR.com)-- American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) Executive Director Tanya Weaver is one of only a handful of Americans to travel to Zimbabwe since the presidential election at the end of March. She went there to meet with one of the humanitarian organizations still working in Zimbabwe. (Note to Editors: The name of the humanitarian organization is not included for safety reasons.) As a result of her trip, Weaver is launching an emergency fundraising campaign to raise money to buy antibiotics for HIV+ orphans whose lives are at risk without them.

“The conditions in Zimbabwe are beyond anything most Americans can imagine: food, water, and fuel are all scarce; medicine is virtually unattainable. If they can be found, even basic foodstuffs are too costly for the vast majority of Zimbabweans. These conditions make the plight of the HIV+ orphans even direr than before.

“AFCA is sending the HIV+ orphans cotrimoxazole, a common antibiotic that is highly effective in preventing the opportunistic infections that throw children into full-blown AIDS. This antibiotic can also delay a child's need for anti¬retroviral medication for years,” added Weaver.

Zimbabwe receives little or no HIV/AIDS funding support from any of the major donor initiatives – approximately $4 per HIV-positive person per year. In contrast, neighboring Zambia, which has a similar rate of HIV prevalence, receives around US $187 per HIV-positive person annually from foreign donors.

“I have lived in other countries during wars and their aftermath, and nothing I have seen has been more difficult than the situation facing Zimbabweans,” said Weaver.

She explained that the night before she was due to arrive in Zimbabwe, she sent a text message to her contacts to confirm that it was still safe to come. The response was positive but included a request.

“Usually I take gifts to the people I visit. This time, rather than gifts, they requested I bring flour, rice, sugar – basic food they couldn’t buy,” said Weaver. “When I got there, I went to the stores and bought one of the last two bags of milk. There’s just no food.”

She added that the situation has worsened since her return and her fear for the children increases daily. “We must get the medicine into the hands of our partners. They literally risk their lives. I am only asking people for a few dollars.” $35 can provide a child with lifesaving antibiotics for one year.

Ever year, AFCA provides more than US$5 million worth of anti-retroviral medication (ARVs), antibiotics, and medicine to fight opportunistic infections including cancers, to more than 1400 children and their guardians in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. AFCA also provides food and medical supplies.

To learn more about AFCA, become involved or make a contribution, please visit www.helpchildrenwithaids.org. All donations are tax-deductible.

About American Foundation for Children with AIDS
American Foundation for Children with AIDS is an independent international humanitarian aid organization established in 2004. AFCA is a 501(c)(3) not–for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Florida, USA. It has been certified Best in America by the Independent Charities of America. AFCA’s mission is to improve the lives of children and youth struggling with the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We provide cost-effective relief, services, medical and social support, education and advocacy to help these individuals achieve their full life potential.

AFCA believes that true success is achieved through collaboration with qualified local professionals. To this end, they partner with the following agencies to deliver quality, donated anti-retroviral medications and supplies to HIV-positive children and their caretakers: Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda; Archdiocese Mikindani Community Based Health Care Program in Mombasa, Kenya; Voi Children’s Health Program in Voi, Kenya; Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Nairobi and Elementita, Kenya.

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Contact Information
American Foundation For Children with AIDS
Tanya Weaver
888-683-8323
Contact
www.helpchildrenwithaids.org

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