HIV and the Church

Posted by Ashley Eure

Something we hear often when talking to individuals and churches about starting HIV ministries is, “I’m not a medical professional – what can my church offer people living with HIV?” The great news is, you don’t have to be a medical professional to make a difference for people living with HIV. The world of HIV and AIDS overlaps with so many other areas your church may already be serving in – things that can help meet the spiritual and physical needs of people living with HIV, not just their medical needs. Below are five areas of ministry you may not have considered as you serve people living with HIV:


Celebrate Recovery ™

Celebrate Recovery (CR) helps people become free of hurts, habits and hang ups that can lead to risky behavior and HIV infection. Key helpful areas of growth include CR groups tailored for chemical dependency and sexual addiction. Celebrate Recovery also provides a space to heal in other areas of life that people living with HIV may struggle in – including codependency, anger, and love and relationship addiction. If your church doesn’t have a Celebrate Recovery Ministry, visit to find out how you can start a CR or locate groups near you. With Celebrate Recovery in thousands of churches across the country and around the world, there’s many to choose from!


Mental Health

There is much overlap between the worlds of HIV and mental health. Those living with mental illness have increased risk for contracting and transmitting HIV.1 Additionally, people living with HIV often experience co-occurring mental health issues, including “affective disorders (eg, major depression, bipolar disorder), substance abuse disorders, cognitive disorders, psychotic disorders, and/or anxiety disorders.”1 If your church would like help starting a mental health or counseling ministry, visit


Orphan Care

We always say that you can’t care about HIV without caring about orphans, and you can’t care about orphans without caring about HIV. The issues of HIV and orphans are linked – in Africa alone there are over 18 million children orphaned by AIDS, and children who grow up as orphans are at much higher risk for contracting HIV. Orphan care ministries in the church help vulnerable children find permanent families and can help orphaned children living with HIV receive the care they need in a family. To learn more about how your church can start an orphan care ministry and work towards ending the orphan crisis, visit


Physical Health – Daniel Plan

Physical activity and healthy eating can be challenging for people living with HIV, yet key to maintaining overall health. The Daniel Plan is a program made to equip people with the tools and skills to achieve a healthy lifestyle with the support of the church community. Designed to help people have more energy to serve in their church, the Daniel Plan combines the five “essentials” - Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends together to help individuals restore and sustain long-term health. For more information, visit


Financial Planning and Budgeting

In our local ministry, many of our people living with HIV have to go on permanent disability and live on a fixed income. For some, the transition is difficult, and they have benefited greatly from our church’s financial planning ministry. If your church doesn’t have a formal financial planning class, there is likely someone in your church or your ministry with a little experience in budgeting and saving who would be willing to share their knowledge with people in your ministry. We’re always looking for ways to empower ministry members with a hand up rather than simply a hand out. One member of our ministry who had struggled consistently with financial needs finally shared that he had never in his life written out a budget to see where his money was going. Some simple budget training is helping him live more independently.


If you would like additional information on any of these ministries, or to learn more about how your church can serve people living with HIV and AIDS, email or call 949-609-8555.


1. "Mental Health and HIV/AIDS," Psychiatric Times

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