December 4, 2013
World AIDS Day- December 1, 2013
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day that was started in 1988. It is a day for people worldwide to show their support for individuals living with HIV by uniting together to bring awareness to and to commemorate those who have died of this pandemic. Although scientific advances in HIV treatment have come a long way in the last 25 years, there is still so much more we do not know about the virus which has left us without a cure. World AIDS Day helps to raise money for research, increase HIV awareness by challenging myths, fighting against prejudice and stigmatism, and providing education for prevention.
It is estimated that nearly 34 million people in the world currently live with HIV and between the years of 1981 and 2007, more than 25 million people have died of this virus. Recent HIV treatment has improved the mortality and morbidity rates of people with HIV however, according to the World Health Organization; most people do not have access to medical care and treatment. That is mainly due to the fact that 97% of people living with HIV reside in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in the sub-Saharan Africa. That being said, HIV/AIDS does not discriminate and can be found in all countries. In the United States alone, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV and over 18% are unaware that they are infected. World AIDS Day serves as a reminder that HIV has not gone away and there is much to be done in the efforts to fight this disease.
MANNA has been on the front line in the efforts to help individuals in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1990, MANNA has been preparing and delivering medically appropriate meals to people diagnosed with this life-threatening illnesses. Through the delivery of 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, MANNA provides hope and nourishment. Currently about 17% of all MANNA clients served have a HIV/AIDS diagnosis. By providing these vital services, MANNA has been able to help nourish those individuals back to health.
In a recent groundbreaking pilot study conducted by MANNA, Examining Health Care Costs Among MANNA Clients and a Comparison Group, results showed statistical evidence that critical and nutritionally at-risk people served by MANNA incur lower health care costs. In particular for individuals who had a HIV/AIDS diagnosis, those who were receiving the MANNA meal program reduced their monthly health care costs from over $50,000 before starting MANNA’s service to an average of $17,000 after being on MANNA meals. The mean monthly costs were also $20,000 lower in the MANNA group as compared to the comparison group with an average of monthly cost of $37,000. These results indicate a significant impact of improved health and nutritional status for people living with HIV/AIDS who have received MANNA services. MANNA clients described improvements in health and faster recovery times, which they attributed to their improved nutrition and weight gain. MANNA will continue to strive to provide nourishment to people living with HIV/AIDS in their efforts to fight against this pandemic. For more information visit, www.mannapa.org.