This story is the first in a series looking at HIV and AIDS in Zambia.
LUSAKA, Zambia -- Sr. Mary Roche looked around at her students in the Mary Aikenhead Open Community School and said there were very few who have not been touched in some way by the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
"It's dreadful, dreadful," said Roche, 68, speaking with a quiet Irish lilt that does not betray her concern, passion or even anger about what HIV and AIDS have done to this southern African nation of 13 million.
HIV's deleterious effects are seen in ways both large and small, including people who are often sick and leaving work to find treatment and families having to channel day-to-day energies -- and parceling out small incomes -- to help the ill get to hospitals and clinics.
This, in turn, perpetuates cycles of poverty, illness and hunger, said Roche, a member of the Religious Sisters of Charity who has worked at the Lusaka school since 2008.