HIV and the Church

Be sure to join us this weekend at any Saddleback Church campus as we celebrate World AIDS Day weekend. You’ll get to hear from our co-founder Kay Warren. If you can’t stop by, you can also check out her message here:

Hi Saddleback. This is World AIDS Day weekend, the time of year when we as a church family join with the community around the world in recognizing the 37 million people living with HIV. This is the time of year we collectively raise our voices to say we are committed to caring for those affected and stepping into the fight against HIV until the day we see the end of AIDS.  

This World AIDS Day, I want to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for you Saddleback. As you may remember, as a church family, we've been working together with the global community on the goal of getting to zero: zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, zero babies born with HIV, zero stigma, and our church’s goal of zero children living in orphanages in Rwanda.

This year there's some great news to celebrate! Globally and locally, rates of new HIV infections and babies born HIV positive are the lowest they’ve ever been. As a church, we've been helping people find out their status here in our own community, offering testing here at church and at local motel church outreaches. Whether in California, Rwanda, or Argentina, through the PEACE Plan, we’ve helped equip local churches to be leaders in teaching prevention and caring for the sick. This year, you have fought stigma by reaching out in love at the US AIDS Conference and at AIDS Walks in Orange County and LA.

There’s another amazing landmark to celebrate. Five years ago, we partnered with the country of Rwanda on the idea of “Getting to Zero” children living in orphanages. Research confirms what the Bible has said all along – that children deserve to grow up in a family, not an institution. We knew that finding and equipping so many Rwandan families was a God-sized goal – at the time there were over 3,000 Rwandan children waiting for a mom or dad. Today, thanks in part to the way Saddleback PEACE teams have come alongside local Rwandan churches to promote adoption and train ordinary church members, the country is now down to only a few hundred children waiting in the orphanages! The country of Rwanda is building a new family-based system of care for vulnerable children, and it’s in large part because the local church stepped up, was mobilized, and is leading the way. That’s an incredible transformation - one that is now providing an example for other nations.

While we praise God for these victories, we recognize there's still work to do. Here in our own communities, there are still children waiting for a family. At home and around the world, there are still people living with HIV in need of a church family, care and support, and the hope of Jesus. Globally, only half the people who need life-saving HIV treatment have access to it. It's a critical time in the fight against HIV where changes in funding could mean a resurgence of new infections and AIDS-related deaths if we don't continue to show up and speak up for those who are affected. This is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus is some of the darkest areas in our world.

Whether locally or globally, there are places for you and your family to get involved. Visit or email for ways you can get started this World AIDS Day.

Saddleback, I love that we are a church that doesn’t shrink away from the hard stuff, and this is no exception. Thank you for continuing to care and being the hands and feet of Jesus wherever you are.

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