If the only image you have of Africa is that of a continent continually in a state of crisis, then you are severely mistaken. It is time Westerners stop characterizing Africa as a bottomless pit of despair, and a continent ridden in abject poverty. We can no longer afford to distort its reality with misconceived assumptions.
In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than half of the people who need them have access to treatment medications. Children are still being born HIV positive. And their parents are still dying of the disease, leaving them to be raised by their aging and grieving grandmothers. These strong, resourceful women are literally saving the continent.
Sitane Diamini is no stranger to pain and hopelessness. Her album of family memories includes a scene at the local medical clinic in her home country of Swaziland, on the day when both she and her husband tested positive for HIV. Then she became pregnant. For someone reading this story 20 years ago, what happened next might have seemed nothing short of miraculous.
Recent advances in our understanding of HIV transmission, treatment, prevention and testing are changing the landscape of our response to HIV and generating a significant amount of optimism. The buzz at the International AIDS Conference this past July in Washington D.C. was that we may now be able to achieve an "AIDS-free generation."