Friends, I want to share with you just ONE of the challenges we are facing as we are serving our community here in Gembu. This week I saw something I had never seen before (pictured here) I was heartbroken for this poor woman as she is in much pain and now the Kaposi’s Sarcoma is starting to affect her other hand! This woman has been treated at another facility here in our area. The recommended treatment for this cancer is to change your HIV medications from first line to second line medications. This poor woman has been suffering with this for about two years and has never had her medications changed! This has made her hopeless as you can imagine. She came to us for help.
I am angry because this is negligence. I am angry because these are real people’s lives that are being affected. I am angry because these sort of things happen here many times over and life is not valued here. I am angry because line 2 drugs are usually more expensive than line 1, even though facilities in our area get free medications for the HIV/AIDS patients that are being treated, they may not always get the right medications. I am angry because last week we found handfuls of antiretroviral medications lying on the ground in front of our office from people who came for testing, got the correct medications, and threw them there as if to say, “I don’t need these.”
Here is what I learned about Kaposi’s Sarcoma and I know the next time I see it I will know what it is and how to pray for the person affected.
Due to weakened immune systems, people with HIV are more likely to develop certain cancers. AIDS is a later stage of HIV infection where most severe cases of Kaposi’s Sarcoma occur. Surprisingly, though, Kaposi’s Sarcoma of the skin can also occur earlier in infection. It is a sign the immune system is being suppressed. The good news is that anti-HIV drugs have caused an 80% to 90% drop in the rate of KS cases since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Also treating the virus itself is the best way to treat KS, especially early on.Researchers have discovered that Kaposi’s Sarcoma is caused by a herpes virus, called Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV-8). Affecting eight times more men than women. Keeping your immune system strong with antiretroviral therapy (called HAART) is the best-known way to prevent Kaposi’s sarcoma. In many cases, HAART is the best way to treat active Kaposi’s sarcoma. It may even clear up the skin lesions.
Friends, please pray for us as we teach, train, and encourage our staff and hire new staff for our growing needs. Pray as we are building and serving our community here. Pray for the people of our area here on the Mambilla Plateau to have Satan’s blinders removed from their eyes so they can see the true love of Jesus and His healing power.
Point for Today: Is there anything in your life that Satan may be blinding you to these days? Pray about it.