HIV and the Church

If you missed Kay Warren's World AIDS Day message to Saddleback Church, watch it here or read the text below:

Hi Saddleback. Welcome to World AIDS Day weekend. This weekend marks the time every year where we join with the international community in recognizing World AIDS Day and the over 37 million people around the world living with HIV.


As you may or may not know, for many years our church has been committed to offering compassion, community and real solutions for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. 


We’ve come so far as an international community towards 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… yet we haven’t arrived.


While we may not hear about it very often in the news anymore, every day, 5000 people are newly diagnosed with HIV – that includes over 400 children per day. Globally, adolescent girls are bearing the brunt of this disease, and stigma continues to prevent so many from receiving the care and support they need.


In the face of these statistics, I want to say I’m proud of you Saddleback for the way you show up, care for the sick, and train other churches around the world to do the same through the PEACE Plan.


You’ve helped churches in Rwanda start HIV ministries. You’ve fought stigma and raised your voices for the marginalized at AIDS walks in OC and LA. You’ve helped vulnerable populations get tested, taught prevention to our students, created art to raise awareness and extended a helping hand, a listening ear, and a seat at the table to the hurting in our community. 


I’m proud because you have demonstrated that our church is dedicated to speaking up and standing up for those who are voiceless, those who are marginalized. The way you love our community and the world makes a difference. Whether it’s a conversation or a trip - the way you serve has ripple effects. 


If you want to join the efforts this World AIDS Day, there are places for you and your family to get involved. Visit or email for ways to get started.


Now, maybe you’re listening and you feel like I’ve described your life - if you feel like you don’t have a place to belong, if you feel like you’ve been disqualified, or if you feel you’ve been cast aside, we’re here to say there’s a place here for you at Saddleback. Your illness is not your identity. It’s not a sin to be sick.


So today on World AIDS Day, we again 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. AIDS is not over, but we believe that when the local church is mobilized to care for the hurting, we will see change in our world unlike we’ve seen before.



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