As a young man I had a dream to practice medicine because I wanted to save and improve lives. I was accepted into medical school, but couldn't afford tuition, so instead I decided to join the ministry. We choose our path in life based on how we want to be part of our generation's role in society. I grew up in South Africa during a time when there was plenty to fix -- poverty, apartheid, access to healthcare, the list goes on -- so I figured becoming somewhat of a spiritual consultant would at least give an opportunity to be around inspiring individuals.
I don't regret not becoming a man of medicine. During my life and career, I've had the honor of reminding people that while there may be a lot of evil in the world, there is also a lot of good. During the time of apartheid in South Africa, I couldn't accept the fact that this despicable way of existing as African brothers and sisters would define the nation I love.
I felt the same way during the worst moments of our continent's AIDS crisis in the early 90s. But like other hard times proved, there is a lot of good in the world, and if we come together under that notion, we can positively impact each other's lives.
Our world's leaders will have this opportunity on Dec. 3, when they come together in Washington, D.C. to make funding commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. These commitments will be quantified in lives saved and access to health for the most vulnerable people living in our world's most vulnerable places. We are all part of the human family, and no one should be left behind.
We've come so far since the days of unnecessary dying, even without yours truly as a doctor. We don't need to fear diseases like HIV, malaria or TB as death sentences anymore, but challenges we have the power to overcome. We are now armed with weapons of peace, like the Global Fund, which has been pivotal for helping us turn the tide against these diseases. With the necessary resources, the Global Fund can help bring us one step closer to defeating these diseases.
My generation may not see the end of the fight, but I'm proud we can pass it on to the next generation to finish and own as their legacy.
We as human beings are made for goodness, which is really fantastic because it means we each have the power to do good things in our everyday lives. I'm proud to have my name on HIV and TB projects focused on prevention, treatment and influencing policy based on new knowledge created by research. Not to say that everyone needs to go out and start an HIV foundation and TB center, but to find passion and reward in helping fellow human beings.
The path of my life that once led me away from medicine and towards the ministry has given me the opportunity to be part of movements that are changing the course of history. Together we ended apartheid and now we all have the opportunity to be part defeating AIDS, TB and malaria. I don't mind never becoming a doctor.
This blog post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, The Global Fund and (RED), in recognition of both World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) and the Global Fund's replenishment launch (taking place in Washington, D.C., December 2-3, where global leaders will determine how much money to allocate to the Global Fund over the next three years). The Global Fund is the Geneva-based financing organization that leads the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. (RED) has to date raised $215 million, with 100 percent of that money going to the Global Fund to fund AIDS programs in Africa. To see all the other posts in this series, visit here. To help fight AIDS, check out the "DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES 2" album here and watch the DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES 2 livestream on World AIDS Day from Australia here on the Huffington Post.