In most African countries, everyone is either infected — or affected. If an individual doesn’t have AIDS, he or she is impacted by someone who does — a spouse or child.
As I mentioned in a previous broadcast, AIDS is ravaging both the homosexual and heterosexual populations in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 80 percent of all AIDS deaths are in Africa.
Why is one continent such an epicenter? Because in Africa, sexual matters are discussed in whispers or avoided completely. Few people know that AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and that there are simple ways to avoid it.
Since my earlier broadcast, I’ve learned of a major victory over this devastating disease — a victory for which a Christian organization deserves a large measure of the credit. In Uganda the AIDS infection rates among the adult population declined from around 18.5 percent in 1995 to 8.3 percent at the end of 1999 — more than cut in half in just four years!
How has this been achieved? Several Ugandan newspapers give substantial credit to a Christian broadcaster, Trans World Radio. By breaking the silence on this taboo subject, they are saving both lives and souls.
Trans World Radio’s involvement in combating AIDS began with a one-time special produced in Kenya. The immediate response from across Africa confirmed an overwhelming need for such a program. People wanted more information so Trans World Radio initiated a weekly broadcast about AIDS.
Since Africans often refer to having sex as “getting some honey,” the program is titled “The Honey That Kills.” The program challenges and encourages those affected by the disease and instructs the healthy on how to avoid becoming infected — not by condom use, but by biblical standards of chastity and fidelity.
Another key to the program’s success is that Trans World Radio encourages local churches to become actively involved — by helping patients and their families, and by teaching the portions of Scripture that relate to chaste behavior.
“The Honey That Kills” has been airing in Kenya and Uganda since the early 1990s. More recently it has expanded into Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Burundi, and several other countries of French West Africa — using a combination of short-wave plus the national networks in each country.
The United Nations AIDS agency reports, “Uganda remains the only African country to have turned a major epidemic around.” Trans World Radio spokesman Richard Greene adds, “Trans World Radio teaches people how to remain pure in Christ, and also to be able to introduce people to the Savior. Many people are crediting their abstinence to hearing the good news of Christ through Trans World Radio.”
In Swaziland, 18-year-old Zuela watched her two- month-old daughter die of AIDS. When Zuela tested positive for HIV herself, she expected a rapid death and contemplated suicide. But that evening the broadcast featured a young man who had lived eight years with the HIV virus. God used his words to restore her will to live — and to lead her to salvation.
Some people question whether Christianity is good for society. Well, here’s a wonderful answer to those folks where Christians got busy and did something important.