Jace A. Williams

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AIDS: Just another way to die

KATSE, Lesotho (BP)--Death and funerals. Prayer for the dying and their families. More death.       It's a way of life for the people known as Basotho who live in the African nation of Lesotho.       "They think HIV/AIDS is just one more way to die," says John Younker, a short-term missionary serving in Lesotho, a country surrounded by South Africa. "When you meet a person in Lesotho, or you meet a person in my village, chances are they have AIDS, or chances are they're HIV-positive."       The nurse at the local clinic estimates more than 400 people out of roughly 750 in the village are HIV-positive, says Younker, who serves in Lesotho through the Georgia Baptist Convention's collegiate ministries in partnership with the International Mission Board.       "They live such a hard life that if you test positive for HIV, it's not a life-shattering, a life-shaking event because [you think], 'Well, I'm going to die in the mines' or 'I'm going to die falling off a horse' or 'I'm going to get in a car accident' or you're going to die of something else," he says.

AIDS: A global overview

NEW YORK (BP)--AIDS is a worldwide pandemic. The United Nations estimates 33 million people were living with HIV in 2007, the most recent year statistics were released