This week, students from St James High School went to visit Touching Tiny Lives (TTL), a charity in Mokhtolong. TTL looks after children under 5 who are ill with malnutrition (not having all the nutrients they need from food) or serious diseases, such as HIV. HIV only affects a small number of people in the UK so we don’t know very much about it; but nearly 3 out of every 10 people in Lesotho have HIV or AIDS, so it is a very serious problem here.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Your immune system is what helps you get better when you are sick. When they get a cold or a sickness bug, people with HIV feel a lot worse, and take a lot longer to get better than healthy people do. Eventually, HIV can turn into AIDS, which is a much worse form, and from which many people die.
The students are all members of the school HIV and AIDS club, that helps to raise awareness of HIV and how to avoid it; so they wanted to see the good work that TTL is doing to help children with the disease.
There is no cure at the moment for HIV, but there are some pills called ARVs that help people with HIV slow down the onset of AIDS. This can keep them healthy and extend their lives by many years. One of the good things that TTL does is to make sure children with HIV can take these pills and keep healthy.