HIV and the Church

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Defeating HIV&AIDS

Part Four: Follow the Encouragements of Your Faith

Together, we are celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Latino/Latina Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15, 2012, a fiesta for all Americans to express appreciation for Latino/Latina contributions and culture.  In this short blog series, I want to humbly pass on a few words of encouragement from this pastor’s heart to my Latino brothers and Latina sisters on how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and defeat HIV&AIDS.  The third thing you can do is…

Follow the Encouragements of Your Faith

Hispanics are known to be deeply religious and mostly Christian, but new trends are taking root.  A wonderful Latino friend once quipped, “Abuelo and Abuela are deeply religious.  Papá and Mamá are less so.  And me?  I’ll find faith that makes sense to me.”  According to Pew Research, younger Latinos/Latinas are trending away from faith.  My friend also intimated, “I’m scared for the ‘niños.’  When they don’t choose faith, they choose other things that are not so good.”

If we are really serious enough to STOP the spread of HIV&AIDS in our communities and in our lifetimes, we will follow what our Christian faith teaches:

•  S – Save Sex for Marriage.  Abstinence before marriage, while a difficult ideal that goes against culture, IS a viable, and proven method of stopping HIV.

•  T – Teach Men & Boys to Respect Women & Children.  By teaching men and boys to view women and children as respected equals created in the image of God, the church is doing its part to reduce gender violence, sexual abuse, and the spread of HIV.

•  O – Offer Treatment Through Churches.  The church can offer more than clean needles & condoms, the church offers freedom from addiction and care for the addict.

•  P – Partner With One Person in Marriage for Life.  When two HIV negative people partner together faithfully in marriage for life, the risk of sexual transmission of HIV is virtually non-existent.

Please know that every one of the points in STOP has both a common sense basis and reflects teaching in the Bible to back it up.  When we follow the encouragements of our Christian faith, we can practically and finally STOP HIV&AIDS in the Hispanic and every other community!

I am celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with you, my brothers and sisters in the Latino/Latina community.  And I am really looking forward to the day that we can proclaim the death of HIV&AIDS in the Hispanic community, especially when it means we renewed our commitments to family, friends and faith.  Via con Dios!

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