Sunday, May 29, 2011


I’d like to take a little time to introduce the four separate countries that AFCA works in and hopefully make it clear why those countries need this aid. So here’s just a brief picture of the HIV/AIDS problem in Uganda. For starters, the CIA World Factbook states underneath its population estimate for the country (a little over 34 million) that this estimate takes into account the effect of AIDS on the population and the resulting increased mortality rate (it doesn’t do this for every country). As of 2009, 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the country setting the HIV prevalence rate at 6.5%. Orphanage due to HIV/AIDS is a significant problem in Uganda. Uganda has the highest proportion of orphaned children due to HIV/AIDS in the world with 2.3 million orphans attributed to the disease. While HIV/AIDS is still a serious issue in Uganda, there has been some progress since the disease first became known in 1980’s. The disease spread rapidly and peaked in the 1990’s but has since declined and prevalence has stabilized at around 6% (in the 1990’s it was as high as 18% in rural areas and 30% in urban areas!). AFCA provides medical supplies for three different hospitals and clinics in Uganda (more on that can be found at  HIV weakens the immune system and increases the lethality of infections that would not necessarily be fatal so these medical supplies are needed to treat both HIV and any other common infections or illnesses. These are just some statistics for you to think about and hopefully help you understand why AFCA works in Uganda. If you want to learn more about the country I recommend the CIA World Factbook as a good starting place ( and the UNAIDS website which has a “country factsheet” for Uganda (

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Statistics, statistics, statistics

Sub-Saharan Africa is the hardest hit area for HIV infections. This is the area that AFCA works in (specifically in the four countries of Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the DRC). Over 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV and 14 million children have been orphaned as a result.  We’ve all seen the pictures, heard the stories, read the statistics like the ones I just gave you. But what about the treatments? The progress? The success stories? You can’t just focus on the death and despair or you won’t have any hope for the future. This also works the other way around though too: don’t just look at the progress and success stories or you may begin to downplay how serious this disease is.
Looking at HIV/AIDS statistics can be overwhelming. And often, the statistics people tend to focus on are the negative ones. For example, when I looked at the first page of this UNAIDS report ( I saw the numbers representing the millions of people living with HIV, the deaths, the orphans as a result of the disease and all I wanted to do was click out of the document. It was depressing, overwhelming. But I kept reading and amid those depressing statistics were numbers on the increase in people receiving treatment and drugs. Through some of my preliminary research I’ve been excited by the progress that’s been made. For example, just last week a news report was issued stating that the mortality rate in China for those infected has decreased by 60% since 2003 thanks to the free access to antiretroviral drugs ( And organizations like AFCA have made a significant impact on the lives of those affected with this disease. You certainly can’t overlook those gruesome statistics, but don’t forget about the progress that has been made in the past few decades. And I’ll make sure to continue to post about both.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Brief Introduction

First I’d like to introduce myself: I’m Hannah Snyder, the new intern here at AFCA. Last semester at Goucher College I took a class titled “HIV/AIDS: Tearing the Social Fabric.” It really challenged me to see the disease as not only medically complex but also socially complex. I was required to teach and lead the class discussion with two other girls one day on the macroeconomic impact of AIDS.  We had the class do a role play in which they saw how AIDS spreads and impacts mobile groups (for this example we had them role play as truckers). Some were HIV-positive, others were not but all had to end up with the same basic necessities of life by the end through whatever means necessary. The class remarked how difficult it was to get everything they needed to survive the game: money, medicine, food etc. For me, that just about sums up HIV/AIDS. It’s confusing. How do we help those who are HIV-positive? What if they’re in poverty? How do we tackle this issue in third world countries? There are so many aspects that need to be taken into account. That’s why I took this internship, because I wanted to understand the disease and its impact a little more and see how an organization can help those affected.
            I’d like this blog to be an informal, yet still informative, discussion on the nature and impact of this disease as well as on Africa in general. I will share with you my research on the countries that AFCA works with (Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the DRC), how HIV has impacted those countries, and the progress in HIV/AIDS research across the globe. I’d also love to hear from the readers. If there is a topic you’d like me to cover in the blog let me know!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Want to do some good with change?

How much money did you spend today? Maybe you got a cup of coffee for $3.50, bought lunch for $11.34 and then picked up a new pair of shoes on the way home for $58.60. What if you could round up each of those purcahses to the nearest dollar, and donate the spare change to American Foundation for Children with AIDS?

Well, our newest partner SwipeGood allows you to do just that: maximize your loose change for a good cause, like bringing safe drinking water to people around the world. And while the resulting $1.56 from today might now sound like a little, it actually adds up to over $20 in donations over the course of the month - without any extra work on your part.

But don't take our word for it - go ahead and take SwipeGoodf or a test drive. All you have to do is go to our page on SwipeGood and sign up your credit or debit card. SwipeGood rounds up your purchases to the next dollar, and lets you donate the change to American Foundation for Children with AIDS. You can even cap your monthly donations, so your are in complete control of the amount of money you donate each month.

How good will it feel to go about your every day shopping knowing that each purchase you make helps to bring life saving medicine, food, school supplies, medical equpment, and training to children in Africa? I can tell you it feels great - like you have a warm halo over your head.

So what are you waiting for? Learn more, enroll your credit or debit card today and change the world around you, one purchase at a time.