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Dear Father,

Today I am writing to tell you the sadness of losing one of the leaders living with HIV in La Paz. Recently,
we buried her. Four children were left without their mother; two of them are still minors. At the cemetery
we listened to the pain, the crying, and then silence, the long silence that remains when a person dies.

As a National Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (REDBOL), we did what was in our hands,
trying to influence in order to make purchases of medicines she needed. The problem was that
emergency fund the Global Fund had in earlier phases does not exist anymore; neither the drugs this
woman needed were part of the essential drug¶s list.

At the cemetery, we recalled how in the early years of REDBOL (2000), we used to go to the cemetery
every week to bury another person deceased due to AIDS. On the way to the tombs, we wondered who's
next.
In 2002, we collected courage together, and inspired leadership in the first REDBOL (Julio Cesar
Aguilera) and with the support of international activists (Richard Stern), we decided to sue the Bolivian
government in the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The petition called for the government
of Bolivia to take precautionary measures to prevent our deaths. 52 people living with HIV signed the
petition with name. We won the petition and in 2004 received the first donation of medicines. In 2004,
when we received the first medications, more than half of the 52 signatories had already died and there
were many newly diagnosed.

And after, the first grants of the Global Fund came to Bolivia, thereby deaths and visits to the cemetery
stopped for a while. Not so in the case of newly diagnosed people, who came in very late stages of the
HIV infection and little or nothing could be done to regain their health. Over time, people developed
problems and side effects resistance to antiretroviral drugs. To date, in Bolivia we have no palliative care
for these cases. Currently, treatment of people living with HIV depends entirely on the cooperation of
Brazil and the Global Fund.

Ten years after the founding of REDBOL, there are some achievements but also new challenges. Our
colleague, who died, is an example of these challenges. She had a disease that in addition to do with her
personal experience is common in people with HIV, kidney damage. She tried, in any ways she could, to
get help but, for various reasons, there was no favorable response.

Beloved Father, I thank you for ASUNCAMI (Association Un Nuevo Camino), because their members did
not abandon this woman during her illness. They were together with her, not only in her attempts to get
care in the public hospital and throughout the slow process of disease, but until now, they are still with
her family. They had words of encouragement but also concrete actions, such as voluntary collection of
funds to help with the multiple expenses. Their hearts are full of love and the practical ways to
demonstrate this brotherly love, is their decision to give the job of this woman to one of his daughters, in
this way, some part of the hospital debt will be paid and in some way, the maintenance costs for small
children will be covered.

Despite these demonstrations of love, there remains the question why? Holy Father, why death rules
over humans so painfully?

The pain after the death of this woman is very deep. So today I beg to alleviate the suffering of their
children. I ask you to alleviate the sadness of the comrades who worked with her. And after
accompanying the family in the hospital and the cemetery, we can get up and move on. Talking with
colleagues from La Paz on Friday, I have seen the impact that the death of this leader and friend had on
their lives. First, because this woman is only one among many other people who passed away, perhaps
anonymously. In recent months two other people in El Alto and La Paz, have died without having any
support, they were not so close to us. Second, because her death could be avoided, and the injustices
that accompanied it, move to courage.

Currently, there are colleagues who are ill, while some other are struggling with cancer and HIV, others
with Hepatitis B and HIV and others are fighting HIV / AIDS and poverty. And of course there are the
challenges of the orphans who remain from these families. Father I ask that you keep in your hand the
health of all people with HIV in Bolivia, even those who we do not know in the self support groups, those
who are afraid to seek help and those who are unaware they are living with HIV. I ask you to relieve their
pain, to provide the drugs and keep their families as a source of support and love and not a source of
judgment.

Father I ask you to open the understanding of the political authorities to the situation of families of people
with HIV in Bolivia. I ask you to always provide the economical resources to meet the care needs. I ask
you that priorities are in the correct order: putting lives of people over any protocol.

I also pray for a responsible leadership among the communities of people with HIV, among the
government, the public hospitals, knowing that we will be accountable to God on all authority we received
on earth. I pray for the resources needed for the Global Fund, may these be sufficient and may we have
the wisdom to avoid expenditures in things that destroy humanity (wars, arms, human trafficking, etc.)
May countries be aware that as nations, will be accountable to God for the way money was used. I pray
that the love of solidarity among people with HIV do not diminish because of the prolonged suffering of
some people.

Father, renew our strength, give us more strategies, give us words of encouragement for the ones who
are sick and suffering. Give us physical strength to bless the lives of those around us. Father, provide the
resources and drugs that our bodies need.

I thank you because this woman had a personal encounter with you before dying. For this reason we can
be certain she has been reborn to a living hope.

³Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth
into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can
never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by
God¶s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you
greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials´ (1 Peter
1:3-6 NVI)

Father I ask you that the power of disease and death over humanity, finish with your kingdom.
You have come to give us life, and eternal life. You conquered death and we will live this triumph with the
new nature that will be given to us, one that is incorruptible, a body that does not suffer from HIV or other
diseases. Come early and establish your kingdom, the kingdom of eternal life.

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power
of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore,
my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work
of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:55-58 NVI)

Prayer Journal
31/01/2011

Gracia Violeta Ross


graciavioleta@gmail.com, violetitaross@hotmail.com