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Empowering Youth Leadership Summit is a program created by Thrive Africa to empower youth to reach their highest potential by equipping them with leadership and life skills. Thrive Africa is a ministry based in Harrismith that is dedicated to developing youth into leaders who can change this generation. The vision of Thrive Africa is to equip and mobilize indigenous leaders to become strategic, Godly influences in their cultural communities. If you would like to know more about Leadership Summit and Thrive Africa, visit our website or call our office. We want to stay involved in your life and help you on the road to success—the road God has for you. We’d love to hear from you; write us an email and tell us your story.

Website: E-mail: Phone: 058-623-0119

What is the truth about AIDS? What does God say? What can you do about it?






















This book is designed to give you ALL the information about HIV/AIDS that you need. We want you to be well informed and educated in order to save your life and lives around you. We believe in you and your ability to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. He made you special and unique. He placed many different talents and gifts inside of you. He created you to live out your life using your gifts and talents. We don’t want anything to get in your way!

Each session is separated into 3 sections: Truth, God, and You.

Truth There are many false teachings or rumors that people share about AIDS. You will be able to separate the truth from a myth and help inform others of the truth about AIDS. You will be able to educate others on the TRUTH about AIDS.

God Did you know that God talks about AIDS in the Bible? Well, he does. We can apply what God’s word says about AIDS to change our community today. God has an entire book of truth and direction for you. We will help you find out what He says to you with verses, stories, and words from the Bible. His Word can guide your life and help you guard yourself from dangers such as HIV/AIDS.

You HIV/AIDS affects YOU. How can you prevent AIDS from spreading? How can you make sure you don’t get AIDS? How can you help others who have the disease? South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. This is your country. This is your community. This is your family. This is YOU! What are you going to do to change the world you live in? Read, study this book, and come to class, and YOU will find out.



what do

you really know?





“I know all about AIDS.” “I’ve listened to so many talks about AIDS and HIV that I’ve learned all there is to know.” What is HIV, and how is it related to AIDS? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. That might not mean much to you unless you are a scientist, so let’s define the words one by one.


A human being (that includes you)

Immunodeficiency Virus

A disorder in which some part of the body’s immune system is weak and can’t resist disease (the immune system doesn’t work)

A type of germ that causes a disease (a germ is a tiny living thing that makes us sick—they are so small that you need to use a microscope to see them)

The Immune System Now you know that HIV is a germ that causes the immune systems of humans to not work properly. What is so important about the immune system? Have you ever seen the people on television who follow close behind the President? Usually, those people are bodyguards. They watch the crowds closely, looking for anyone who might

Your own personal bodyguard Your immune system is your own personal bodyguard. It knows what cells belong in your body and which ones don’t. When it identifies pathogens (bad cells), like viruses, it attacks and kills them right away. This is a very good thing because your body is attacked by bad cells everyday. Most of the time you won’t even know you have been attacked by bad viruses because your immune system destroys them so quickly.

want to harm the President. The bodyguards can tell who is safe and who is dangerous. If they see someone who looks like a troublemaker, the bodyguards will grab, handcuff, and remove that person from the area. Protecting the President is the only thing the bodyguards care about. If the President is safe, he can do his job.



Can you

He would never be able to give speeches, travel, or


meet with leaders of other countries. He would be so busy protecting himself that he would not be able to do

if the President

his job as President. Your bodyguard, the immune

didn’t have

system, keeps you healthy. If you didn’t have your


immune system, you would be so busy protecting yourself from viruses and germs that you wouldn’t be able to go to school or spend time with your friends.

Since AIDS causes your

So if HIV causes your bodyguard to quit working or slow down, imagine what happens. The bad cells that your immune system used to kill take over your body. They multiply and grow. Soon, your bodyguard will not be able to protect you at all, and you may not recover from something as simple as the flu.

bodyguard to stop working

then you can die from something as simple as the flu. immune ng your o tr s w o h CD4 can tell g called in th e m Doctors o ting s une by coun our imm y w o h system is l ontro eases. 4 cells c ctious dis cells. CD fe in to s espond system r

An immune system working at normal levels will have

between 500 and 1800 CD4 cells in every cubic millimetre of blood.

AIDS stands for

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is defined as being a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In other words, as HIV weakens your body, your health will continue to get worse, and the number of CD4 cells in your body will continue to drop. Your bodyguard is no longer able to do its job, and even small viruses become a big problem.

There is no way to reverse HIV or AIDS,

and there is no cure.


Treatment for HIV is recommended when your CD4 count is below 350.

THINGS TO REMEMBER HOW AIDS KILLS As HIV damages your immunes system your body can no longer fight off common illnesses. Therefore, you can die from even a simple cough.

NO CURE There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Do not sleep around (with or without condoms) so that you will not get and/or spread the disease.


Does God

Even Care?

You Bet He Cares! “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” -Romans 5:17 NLT

If you don’t believe in God, it can be easy to wonder how something like AIDS can exist. AIDS and HIV exist for the same reason that disease, sadness, and

“But God showed how much He loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” Romans 5:8 CEV

death do: SIN.

There is hope!

Do you know what God did for you?

“God loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son (Jesus Christ), so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die.” John 3:16 CEV

He didn’t just die for us; He gave us a new life! When you are given a gift, you take it in your hands, thank the giver, and the gift becomes your property. The gift is now yours. God is holding out the gift of His forgiveness through Jesus for you. You can walk away and say “No thanks”, or you can take the gift, thank God for it, and know that God’s love is for you. The choice is yours.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” -Romans 10:9-10 NLT This verse says that you are made right with God. That means that God forgives you of all your sin. You no longer owe God something because of your sin. When you accept God’s forgiveness, you can live free from sin and death!

MORE FROM THE BIBLE “When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.” -Romans 6:4 CEV “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks.” -Matthew 7:7-8 CEV



It’s up to you.

What will you choose? God has provided a way for you to live in victory over sin and death. If you really want to change your life and live in God’s forgiveness, then talk to God. You can pray your own prayer, believing that Jesus died and rose from the dead for you. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to pray this prayer:

Talk to God! Dear God, Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me, rose from the dead, and claimed victory over sin and death. I thank You that I can claim that victory for my life by believing in my heart that I am made right with You. Show me how to live for You, and help me understand Your love for me and the world around me. Amen.

Did you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead?

If so, then God’s forgiveness is now yours! Write down what this decision means to you.



All the answers to the following questions can be found in this lesson.


What does HIV stand for?


What is so important about the immune system?


What is your immune system like?


How often is your body attacked by bad cells?


How can doctors tell how strong your immune system is?


What is a healthy CD4 count number?


How is your immune system your own personal bodyguard?


What does AIDS stand for?


Is there a way to cure HIV or AIDS?


Does God care about people with AIDS?






Truth A virus in chimpanzees is believed to be the start of HIV/AIDS.

Every story has a beginning, but did you know that scientists aren’t sure how HIV/AIDS began?

HIV/AIDS started with a few patients who had a strange illness.


Soon it turned into a real danger. Now individuals, families, and communities throughout the world are at risk.


Many scientists believe that a chimpanzee virus, called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), jumped from the animals and entered humans in the first half of the last century. One of the ways this could have happened was by people being exposed to the animal’s blood. Some people hunt and eat chimpanzees, creating the opportunity for humans to be infected.

Scientists believe that HIV/AIDS came from a virus found in chimpanzees.

WHEN DID AIDS START? HIV/AIDS was first found in humans in the 1950’s.


Other professionals blame the use of chimpanzees in the production of

AIDS was initially known as slim disease, first reported in 1981.

polio medicine, making it possible for SIV to jump from animals to humans. This idea has been carefully examined and has been proven to be false. The testing of polio medicine did NOT cause the transfer of SIV to humans in the form of HIV. 1900


Virus jumps to humans





HIV found in a man from Central Africa

Homesexual men in US show signs of HIV

More cases reported in Africa

22.4 million people in South Africa infected

HIV has been around since at least the A blood sample taken from a man in central Africa in 1959 was found to contain HIV. As early as 1978, homosexual men in the United States and Sweden began showing signs of the disease. At about the same time, heterosexual men in Tanzania and Haiti began showing signs of the virus. Over time, more and more cases of immune deficiency were being reported and by 1981, doctors in Africa were reporting what they called “slim disease”. The symptoms of the “slim disease” that were described included all the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS as we know it today.


What are some


Rapid weight loss, dry cough, recurring fever or profuse night sweats, profound and unexplained fatigue, swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck, diarrhea that lasts for more than a week, white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat, pneumonia, red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids.



ONCE UPON A TIME You had a beginning. Once upon a time, you were born. God cared about you before you took your first breath.

HIV and AIDS had a beginning. However, it took doctors and scientists a long time to recognise it. Part of what makes AIDS so hard for doctors to understand is that no one knows how or where it started. Despite the uncertainty of the origin of HIV and AIDS, it is real. AIDS exists and is killing thousands and thousands of people in South Africa and all over the world.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” -Jeremiah 1:5a MSG

God Wants to Bless You!

Your beginning is not a mystery because you are God’s creation. God understands you in a way that no one else can, because He made you. Before you were born, before you were in your mother’s womb, God knew about you. God put you together, knowing that your life would matter. He made you with a plan and a

“But You see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to You.You are the One who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise You because of the wonderful way You created me. Everything You do is marvellous! Of this I have no doubt.” -Psalm 139:12-14 CEV

purpose. You matter to Him.

“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. You will turn back to Me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers.” -Jeremiah 29:11-12 CEV

God knows your beginning and He has a future for you. Ask God for help, and your future will be filled with hope. God wants to bless you. He cares for you.

Even if you have regrets, things in your past that you wish you had not done,

”How great is God’s love for all who worship Him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west!” -Psalm 103:11-12 CEV


there is hope for your future. God’s love for you is bigger than your mistakes.


No one gets left out of God’s love. God even loves people who have HIV or AIDS.

God loves everyone.

Everyone has a beginning. Everyone has a story. Everyone has done things that they wish they had not done, but God has a special plan for everyone. His Word says, All you have to do is give your life fully and completely to Him, believing that God is real, and asking Him into your heart. Talk to someone about making this decision. Once you realise and believe that God has a future filled with hope for you, start thinking about the people in your school, village, and church. Even if they have AIDS, or are sick, God still loves them and has a future for them. God loves ALL of your friends and has a future for them. God wants to bless everyone.

Since you know that God has a plan for you, Tell others that God can do the same for them.

Not everyone knows that God has a plan for them. They live in sadness. They live without hope. If you see someone who is living and

Instead of judging people, tell them about God’s love.

struggling with sin, remember God’s hope is also available to them. Maybe no one has told them that. Do not be quick to judge someone, even when it seems easy to do. You do not know their story from the beginning. You do not know how God wants to bless that person’s future.

In chapter one, we told you about God’s forgiveness and how to get it. That is what you must share with others. As you begin to understand God’s love for you, you will also understand God’s love for everyone around you. Try to change the way you look at others. When you see someone living without God’s forgiveness, tell them how to get it. Share with


them how God forgave you and how your life has


changed. Pray with them, revealing that God has a

“But God showed how much He loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” -Romans 5:8 CEV

plan just for them.



All the answers to the following questions can be found in this lesson.


Do scientists know how HIV/AIDS got started?


How long has HIV been around?


In 1981, what was the disease called that we now know as HIV/AIDS?


How does God understand you in a way that no one else can?


Who gets left out of God’s love?


Is there hope for your future if you are infected with HIV/AIDS or any other disease?


How do you know God made you with a plan and a purpose?


What does it mean to judge someone?


Is God’s love bigger than your mistakes?

10 12

What do you know about God’s forgiveness?







Your immune system

is your bodyguard Let’s go back to the President and his bodyguards. When the President makes a public appearance, there are many things that the bodyguards do before he arrives. There is a set plan of where the President will walk, and each bodyguard knows what area he will be watching. The President knows where he is expected to be, and he stays close to his bodyguards so that they can protect him. Imagine if the President decided to run into the crowd. He would break away from the safety of his bodyguards. They would be unprepared and unable to protect the President because of his actions.

THINGS TO REMEMBER SAVE SEX Save sex until you find that special person God has for you to marry. When you are married, remain faithful to your spouse by saving sexual contact for only your spouse.

HURTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM If you do drugs or have any kind of sexual contact outside of marriage, you make it very difficult for your immune system to protect you.

When you participate in dangerous behaviour, you make it very difficult for your bodyguard, your immune system, to keep you safe.

Here are some things you can do to make your bodyguard’s job easier Don’t share needles with anyone for anything. Always use new blades for circumcision. If you are helping at the scene of an accident, use gloves or a plastic bag when doing first aid. Save sex until you find that special person God gives you in marriage. When you are married, remain faithful to your spouse by saving sexual contact for your spouse only. If you have ever been at risk for HIV infection because of molestation (to treat someone in a wrong way sexually), rape, infected blood contact, or having sex with a possibly infected person, then get tested before you have sex or enter into marriage, even if you are not showing signs or symptoms. If you are a girl who plans to get pregnant or breastfeed, and there is a possibility that you could have been infected, get tested for HIV before you become pregnant or breastfeed your baby. There are treatments that could help keep you from passing HIV to your child.

Yes, you can hurt your immune system! These are all important things you can do that will let your bodyguard do his job. If you do drugs or have any kind of sexual contact outside of marriage, you make it very difficult for your immune system to protect you.



S ’ D R O U G O M R A

dy: o b r r you lling it o f r ca cto e n t e o r e p ave b ou a h y e n ve .W elf . i s m g r e s u t ha ct yo e sys e n t God u o r p imm d. y to a w your odyguar ther d”. b o r n u a yo you ur of Go e v a lso g the armo a d Go led “ l a c It is

You have the strength

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13 NLT

What is the Armour of God? Something that has armour cannot be punctured. Think of an armoured vehicle that transports money. The way it is built keeps people from breaking into it. The armour of God will protect your spirit from fear, doubt, lies, and hate. Armour protects all the parts of your body. The armour of God is: belt of truth, shoes of good news, shield of faith,

When you have God’s armour, you can defend yourself. If you help your bodyguard by avoiding things that will hurt you, and if you put on God’s armour, you will be safe from HIV and AIDS.

helmet of power, and sword of the Word.

It’s time for you to put on the armour of God “So put on all the armour that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armour. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.” -Ephesians 6:13-17 CEV



Things you can do to stay healthy, avoid HIV/AIDS, and live the plan that God has for your life: If friends offer you drugs, say no. Tell them why you are saying no. You want to stay healthy because God cares about you, and God has a purpose for your life. Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol impairs your judgement and you may end up having sex or think it is ok. Don’t have sex until you are married. When you and your spouse save sex for marriage and for each other, the kind of sex you will get to have is special. You will never have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). HIV and AIDS will never be a concern for you.

WHY WAIT? WHY SHOULD I WAIT UNTIL MARRIAGE TO HAVE SEX? You and your spouse will be able to enjoy sex without memories of anyone else. If you stay faithful to each other in marriage by keeping sex between you and your mate, you will be able to enjoy each other completely for the rest of your lives.

Put on the armour of God. Belt of truth

Start with wearing truth like a belt. You are learning the truth about HIV and AIDS. Do not forget it. Do not pretend like you do not know. Always keep the truth on your mind. Keep reviewing this material, and do research on your own. Believe and wear the truth.


Tell others about the good news of God. The good news of God’s peace should be like shoes on your feet. That means peace should go wherever you go! God’s peace will change your life. If you get tested and find out that you don’t have HIV or AIDS, you will have peace. Share with others the importance of having the peace that God gives.

of good news

Shield of faith

Helmet of power

Sword of the word

Let your faith be a shield. Believe that God wants to protect you, and let that faith keep you from saying yes to temptations. Temptations are things that you might want to do for a time, but are bad and hurtful. You might not want to make a friend mad by turning down drugs, but a true friend wouldn’t want to hurt you with drugs. You may want to have sexual contact with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sex before marriage is dangerous, but when you save sex for marriage, it can be a wonderful thing you can have for the rest of your life.

God’s saving power can be a helmet. You may get weak and want to have sex with someone, and when your body wants to have sex, it can be easy to let your mind think that you can be safe. It can be easy to think that a condom will protect you. Do not believe those lies. Condoms are NOT 100% effective. You can get HIV/AIDS even if you wear a condom. Believe that God only wants the best for you.

Use God’s Word like a sword. Read the Bible and see what God has to say to you in His Word. God has lots of stories and examples in the Bible that show you how to live your life. When you are tempted, you will remember what the Bible says, and you will be able to use it like a sword. God’s word will cut down temptations, addictions, and lies.



All the answers to the following questions can be found in this lesson.


What did God give you to protect your body?


Name four ways you can make your bodyguard’s job easier.


What is the armour of God?


What will God’s armour protect you from?


What should you do if someone, even a friend, offers you drugs?


What should you save sex for?


What are temptations?


Will a condom protect you from HIV or AIDS?


What are three truths you can live by to “wear the belt of truth”, putting on the armour of God?

10 24

What happens when you have God’s armour?

Get Real - Leadership Summit Curriculum