Devastation in Africa This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     When will the day come when children across the sea will be born without the threat of HIV? Why is it that countries like ours have neither answers nor explanations for these people? Why must we isolate them so that no country dares give aid to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa? Why is their death rate statistically overshadowing the birth rate? When will something be done? Why must countries react with fear when these statistics are revealed?

Our country, like others who look toward these African nations with wide eyes, need to - no, must - act now. We cannot wait for an attack by terrorists to speed our operations, for there is no disaster like this. According to Avert, a British charity, the AIDS death toll on the continent is expected to continue rising before peaking around the end of the decade. This means that the worst of the epidemic's impact on these societies will be felt in the next ten years, and beyond. Already, the national adult HIV rate exceeds 30% in Botswana (37.5%), Lesotho (31.5%), Swaziland (38.6%) and Zimbabwe (33.7%).

HIV/AIDS is the terrorist. We must look at this virus the same way we look at the leaders of rogue nations. We can no longer push this problem aside. Regardless of the amount of money we need to spend, regardless of the unpopularity of our people's opinion, we must act in a confident way. The slightest skepticism or hesitation can be the detrimental straw that breaks the camel's back.

Our country has a history of isolationism, and we are certainly isolationist when looking at our lack of action in Africa. Years from now, when our children's children's children are reading about our world, they should read about our actions in Africa and know of our efforts and successful treatment and disassembly of this deadly disease. But if we do not act now, there will be no history books recalling our actions, for there will be no beings to occupy the earth. As moisture begins to creep into the crevices of my eyes as I recollect the boy from Africa who will not live past the age of five, I end this piece with a plea ... a plea for help.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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