"If we were receiving assistance to obtain medication, which is very expensive, I could survive another ten, fifteen years. But given the poverty of my family, we are late..." - Jean-Jacques, 25, father of two - Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Our latest Pick is Awaiting Tomorrow, which calls for the government of the DRC to take urgent action to protect the rights of the more than 1.3 million* of its citizens living with HIV/AIDS.
Despite commitments from the Congolese government and the international community, just 5% of those with HIV/AIDS in DRC are receiving treatment with essential anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). The cost of treatment - less than a dollar a day - is also the average income of a Congolese family in Eastern DRC, meaning that many people living with HIV/AIDS, like Jean-Jacques, are forced to choose between prolonging their own lives or feeding their families. Already over 100,000 people have died of AIDS-related illnesses, and across the DRC, over 930,000 children have lost one or both parents because of HIV/AIDS.
There are many local grassroots organizations working with HIV/AIDS in the DRC - and this week WITNESS is in Kinshasa working with 18 of these organizations, and meeting with senior government figures to call for urgent action.
Awaiting Tomorrow is co-produced by WITNESS and Ajedi-Ka. Watch the full version of the film to learn more, to see a longer interview with Jean-Jacques, and to hear the stories of Riziki, a former soldier, and Muawa, a mother of three from Uvira.
[*Although official statistics from the Congolese government account for 1.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the DRC, international organizations estimate this number can be as high as 2.6 million.]