Q1: What is HIV&AIDS, and why are you giving it so much attention?
A: USAID.gov offers a simple definition of HIV as seen below. The reason that we believe every church should care and have a specific intention to care for those living with HIV is because HIV&AIDS is found in every demographic and on every continent in such large numbers that it is now considered the greatest identifiable health crisis in human history – a global pandemic.
We believe that we should care for and about people living with HIV&AIDS because people matter, and Jesus cared for people. Jesus Christ devoted much of his ministry to helping people who were sick, no matter how they became ill, and He asks His Church to do the same.
WHAT IS HIV?
To understand what HIV is, let’s break it down:
H – Human – This particular virus can only infect human beings.
I – Immunodeficiency – HIV weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. A "deficient" immune system can't protect you.
V – Virus – A virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a lot like other viruses, including those that cause the "flu" or the common cold. But there is an important difference
– over time, your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body. That isn't the case with HIV – the human immune system can't seem to get rid
of it. Scientists are still trying to figure out why.
We know that HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system – your T-cells or CD4 cells.
Your body has to have these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that your body can't fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS.
WHAT IS AIDS?
To understand what AIDS is, let’s break it down:
A – Acquired – AIDS is not something you inherit from your parents. You acquire AIDS after birth.
I – Immuno – Your body's immune system includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease.
D – Deficiency – You get AIDS when your immune system is "deficient," or isn't working the way it should.
S – Syndrome – A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs of disease. AIDS is a syndrome, rather than a single disease, because it is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV infection. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections (OIs).
You will be diagnosed with AIDS if you have one or more specific OIs,
certain cancers, or a very low number of
CD4 cells. If you have AIDS, you will need medical intervention and treatment to prevent death.
For more information, see CDC’s Basic Information About HIV And AIDS.
Q2: Is there a difference between HIV&AIDS?
A: Yes, HIV is the name of the virus, and AIDS is a complex set of symptoms that happen as the result of HIV being in the body. HIV is the virus that leads to a person having the condition known as AIDS.
HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is a retrovirus, which means it is a bit unique and behaves differently from other, more common viruses.
AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is the disease of the body's immune system caused by HIV, human immunodeficiency virus. AIDS is characterized by the death of CD4 T-cells
(white blood cells that are an important part of the body's immune system), leaving the body vulnerable to life-threatening conditions such as opportunistic infections and cancers.
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Q3: I’ve heard that the numbers of people with HIV&AIDS is huge. What are the most recent, reliable numbers?
A: You’ve probably heard the latest statistics, jointly reported by UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF (in 2011, for year end 2010, global), and the CDC (2010, for the US):
- Approximately 34 million people are infected with HIV&AIDS
- 2.7 million people newly infected annually
- 50% of those infected are women
- 3.4 million children are infected
- 390,000 children newly infected annually
- 1.8 million AIDS deaths in 2010
- 16.6 million Orphans due to AIDS (0-17 years of age, 2009)
- 1.2 million people are living with HIV infection
- 50,000 new infections annually
- 17,774 people died with AIDS (2009)
- 619,400 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic in the US
While these statistics are staggering, consider that approximately 25 million deaths attributed to AIDS have occurred since the pandemic began more than 30 years ago.
These numbers are not just statistics, they are real people we care about and love.
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Q4: I’ve heard that the numbers of people with HIV&AIDS is inflated. Some say the problem isn’t as bad as reported. What do you think?
A: There is reputable evidence that present statistics are reliable, not inflated, and reporting is becoming more reliable as time passes.
However, if HIV&AIDS figures are even slightly inaccurate, the essential fact remains: Too many people are infected and affected globally by HIV&AIDS.
The remaining question is: Exactly how many people need to suffer, get sick and die for me/us to care?
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Q5: Is HIV&AIDS a real problem anymore in the United States?
A: Yes, HIV&AIDS remains a serious problem in the United States.
There are approximately 1.2 million people infected in the United States, and it is estimated that there were 50,000 new infections last year.
As many as 20% of those infected do not know they are HIV+ and may unknowingly pass the virus on primarily through sexual contact. Of
those infected, 33% were 24 years of age and younger. The overwhelming majority were among those 20-50 years of age.
The infection rate among women – especially African American women - is increasing at alarming rates. HIV&AIDS is spreading through
the heterosexual population as sexual experimentation increases. A trend of new HIV infections is emerging among groups 50 years
of age and above, called “the Viagra effect”.
HIV&AIDS cases exist in many parts of the United States and in many parts ot the world, and numbers of new HIV infections are going up, not down.
This means that HIV&AIDS needs to be a concern for every church who cares about the most pressing concerns in our world.
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Q6: A cure for HIV&AIDS with new drugs has been found, right?
A: No, there is no cure for HIV&AIDS at this time.
While work is continuing toward a vaccine, no vaccine is available at this time or in the foreseeable future.
There are life-saving drugs available called ARVs (Antiretrovirals). However, they do not cure HIV&AIDS.
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Q7: Our church has not been known for caring for people with HIV&AIDS, but we want to change that. Some people are critical of the effort. How can I justify a focused effort on HIV&AIDS?
A: There are multiple reasons to care about people living with HIV, but from a public health perspective alone, HIV&AIDS is now a pandemic, having surpassed both malaria and TB as the #1 infectious disease killer of adults worldwide.
HIV&AIDS also adversely affects every aspect of an individual, eventually impacting the spiritual, social, political, and economic viability of countries and entire regions.
One of the saddest statistics about the AIDS pandemic is that more children are orphaned from HIV&AIDS than any other cause. There are 16 million children in Africa who have lost one or both parents due to AIDS.
Every church is affected worldwide. The Church is called to do many things. Once you know the truth about the pandemic of AIDS, anyone who names the name of Jesus must care and act.
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Q8: My Church would like to offer testing. How do we get started?
A: Terrific! Testing is something every church can encourage and promote, and even offer, depending on their resources and individual state regulations.
Begin by encouraging a group of church members to explore what is available and needed in your area and the regulations governing participation. Any organization or church that offers HIV testing must provide privacy, confidentiality, training in counseling, testing procedures and accurate reporting.
In many places – both in the US and other countries – local churches can offer HIV testing. Offering testing through local churches is a marvelous way to dispel the pervasive stigma surrounding HIV& AIDS. Even more importantly, churches are places of HOPE! What better place for testing?
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Q9: What is the most comforting thing I can say to someone who has HIV&AIDS?
A: John Forbes, offers: “If I was really honest, the most comforting thing is when people don’t say anything. When they are just normal… and treat me with comfort and kindness and respect… and they just act normal.”
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Q10: Is HIV&AIDS a punishment from God?
A: HIV&AIDS is not a punishment from God – it is a horrible disease experienced by millions of men, women and children.
Many people have HIV because something terrible was done to them or by them. The role of the church is to love them no
matter what. A search of the Gospels shows that Jesus never asked anyone how they became ill; his disciples were curious,
but Jesus showed no interest in the “whys” but in God’s larger purposes. In John 9, Jesus was asked about a man who was
born blind. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents
sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” It is not a sin to be sick! It is never our place to ask
someone how they became infected, but rather, how we can help them.
Q11: Why HIV&AIDS and not malaria, TB or cancer?
A: While all of these diseases are tragic and important to address, certain compelling facts about helping people infected or affected by HIV&AIDS remain for the church:
It’s unpredictable: God calls us to care for the sick, the poor, the widows and the orphans.
Often, no one expects the church to care about people with a sexually transmitted disease. Let’s face it; we don’t do a very good job talking about sex,
let alone sexually transmitted diseases! Partially because of our avoidance, there is an enormous stigma and shame attached to HIV. Ironically, no one
is ostracized or abandoned if they have malaria or TB or even cancer.
The church has the power to grant acceptance to those who are HIV+ or who have AIDS and remove the stigma. It is not a sin to be sick and serving is God’s call.
It’s incurable: Globally, there are nearly 1.8 million AIDS related deaths each year, and no cure for HIV&AIDS is in the horizon. HIV&AIDS has surpassed both
malaria and TB as the number one infectious disease and killer of adults worldwide, profoundly affecting the spiritual, social, political, and economic well-being
of individuals, regions and countries. More children are orphaned from the effect of HIV&AIDS than any other cause.
It’s preventable. We don’t yet know all of the complex causes of cancer, but there’s no mystery about HIV&AIDS. We know how it is transmitted,
and we know how to prevent it. The church has both the Divine call and the moral authority to encourage, advocate and promote behaviors that STOP HIV&AIDS
in its tracks and ensure health and long life.
It’s treatable: There are at least two more things every church can do.
First. Churches can encourage HIV testing and even use their facility as an HIV testing site. Testing is shown to have a positive effect
on limiting the spread of HIV&AIDS, and identifying HIV infection before an individual’s immune system is destroyed allows them to
access treatment quickly.
Second. Medications are widely available in the United States which prolongs life, and the Church can assist in advocating that local people suffering with HIV&AIDS
receive medications and health treatment. However, these same medications are expensive and not as accessible to those in resource-poor settings. The Church has
a moral mandate to intervene and can help alleviate health disparities and widening treatment gaps through advocacy and service in developing countries.
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Q12: Does my church need an “HIV policy?”
A specific HIV-related policy is not needed, as HIV is not transmitted through casual and ordinary contact such as hugging, shaking hands, kissing, changing normal diapers, sharing toys, serving food or handling unwashed dishes or utensils. However, the CDC recommends that gloves be available to workers in any situation where contact with blood or sexual fluids are possible for prevention against a number of different illnesses and diseases.
Encountering blood or sexual fluids is extremely unusual in the normal course of church events and childcare. The general principle is this: If there is evident blood, one should wear gloves and after removing gloves, hands should be washed thoroughly. This general practice will prevent HIV and other infections.
Some churches advise workers to wear gloves and wash hands when changing a soiled diaper, not because of HIV precautions, but for the normal and usual practice of protecting against other illnesses spread through urine and feces. Some churches have forgone the usual practice of changing diapers during the short period of a church service unless the diaper is badly soiled - again not so much related to HIV, as to avoid risk of exposure to many diaper-related illnesses. Requiring all workers to wear gloves and wash hands when caring for diaper is a good way to avoid disease in general.
It is important to note, (1) That when blood or blood by-products inadvertently come in contact with unbroken skin, a thorough washing of the area with soap and water effectively eliminates any hazard of infection, and (2) That when blood or blood by-products contact broken skin (rash, puncture, scrape or laceration), the affected area should be washed thoroughly and a medical assessment and attention sought for the purposes of determining if any further intervention is indicated.
One way to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV is to educate church members about how HIV&AIDS is spread and how it isn’t. Don’t let fear keep you from ministering Jesus’ name and in His way.
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Q13: What are the best prevention messages?
A: More than 30 years after the HIV&AIDS pandemic began, millions continue to be infected with the deadly virus. A tremendous effort has been made to find strategies to SLOW the pandemic. We are not content to slow the pandemic. We want to STOP it, and this will require a different strategy.
Two important terms to learn related to HIV&AIDS are “risk reduction” and “risk elimination.” They may sound similar, but they are worlds apart in their definitions and in their effectiveness concerning the spread of HIV&AIDS.
“Risk Reduction” refers to activities that can SLOW the risk of contracting HIV, but not get rid of the risk entirely. These activities will not STOP the spread of HIV&AIDS.
Here is an acrostic that helps us remember what SLOW is:
S – Support Correct and Consistent Condom Use Every Time
The correct and consistent use of condoms can prevent the transmission of HIV.
L – Limit Number of Sexual Partners
Limiting sexual partners reduces potential exposure to HIV. While not fool-proof, fewer partners decrease the likelihood of HIV transmission.
O – Offer Needle Exchange
From a public health standpoint, a clean needle prevents people from contracting HIV through contaminated needle sharing.
W – Wait for Sexual Debut
Research shows that pushing back the age of sexual debut reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
If we support only the principles found in SLOW, HIV&AIDS will continue to spread throughout the world.
“Risk elimination” is just what it sounds like. These are activities proven to not just SLOW the spread of HIV but actually STOP a person from becoming infected:
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 transmission.
T – Teach Men and Boys to Respect Women and Children
When we teach men and boys to view women and children as respected equals created in the image of God, the church works to reduce gender violence, sexual abuse and the spread of HIV.
O – Offer Treatment Through Churches
The church offers more than clean needles and condoms; it offers freedom from addiction and care for the addict.
P – Partner With One Person 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.
In a world where individuals do not always choose God’s standards for relationships and purity, both strategies are needed. We acknowledge
the current prevention messages while promoting the solid Biblical foundations of self-control, sexual restraint before marriage, and faithfulness
to one’s spouse after marriage.
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Q14: What messages should teens hear about HIV&AIDS and why?
A: Here are four messages from which teens can benefit…
HIV is present.
HIV&AIDS remains the greatest pandemic ever known, and HIV is not the kind of infection that can easily be treated “by simply taking a pill.”
This is both a message of danger and opportunity. The threat of HIV is not diminished, and that means that the opportunity to show compassion
as a servant of Jesus Christ is increased.
HIV is preventable.
This is a message of hope that everyone must know and appreciate. Building healthy, Godly relationships is possible. Sexual abstinence
before marriage, including not having oral sex, is essential for personal purity, obedience to God’s Word and to avoid HIV&AID and other
sexually transmitted diseases. And mutual, sexual fidelity after marriage is crucial to maintaining one’s health and relationships.
HIV is people-driven.
That is a call to action for us all. Behavior change is necessary to eradicate HIV&AIDS, and true and lasting behavior change
can only come by yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. Despite the challenges to do what everyone else does,
young people can depend on God to help them take action. All of us – including young adults – need the support of our community
to make the best choices, and wise peers can provide strength to keep our commitments.
HIV and prophylactics.
Condoms aren’t the answer. There is no such thing as “safe” sex using a condom. There is only “safer” sex. Accurate information
about the risks of relying on condoms toprevent HIV is needed. There is always a risk that a prophylactic will not be properly used or fail.
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Q15: What are the “Top Ten” reasons to talk to younger people about HIV?
A: One of our contributors suggest…
1. Because it is the greatest humanitarian health crisis of all time;
2. Because younger people are at great risk;
3. Because orphans and vulnerable children need younger people to care;
4. Because people who are HIV positive need younger people to care;
5. Because younger people are a compassionate force to love and change the world;
6. Because what we don’t know about, we fear;
7. Because what we don’t know about, we can’t prevent;
8. Because what we don’t know about, we can’t care about;
9. Because what we don’t know about, we can’t change; and…
10. Because what we learn about can help us change the world.
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Q16: Isn’t talking to young adults about their personal risk of HIV just a way to coerce or use scare tactics to encourage abstinence?
A: Talking to young adults about HIV is all about truth, empowerment, and a healthy, better life.
In a world where it is estimated that more than 34 million individuals are infected and 2.7 million new infections occur every year, young adults must know truth.
Reality can be challenging without being coercive. Regarding HIV, the truth is, the virus destroys, then kills.
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Q17: At what age should I talk to my children about HIV?
A: There is no exact answer to this question. Every child, the environment in which he or she exists and an opportunity to talk about HIV&AIDS
is somewhat unique. The general rule about most conversations with children is, “Make the conversation age-appropriate and be certain that
the child is developmentally ready.”
Some children learn about HIV&AIDS when a close family member, loved one or friend becomes ill or dies. Others learn about the virus as the
result of a conversation about relationships and human sexuality. Still others are exposed to a rudimentary knowledge about HIV&AIDS as part
of preparation for being and staying safe. Every child can learn something, and many learn the term “HIV” long before they know what it is when
they hear us praying for those with HIV&AIDS or talking about how we can serve someone who is sick.
Since a conversation about HIV&AIDS is primarily about people, not sex, we ask, “How old do we want our children to be before they learn that
we care as Jesus cares for people who get sick?” or “How old do we want our children to be before they learn that there are injustices at home
and around the world, and that some people are either become sick because of injustice or are treated meanly just because they are sick?”
When we first teach compassion for those with HIV&AIDS, we can later build on that foundation to include the details concerning infection with HIV
and prevention of HIV&AIDS at the appropriate time.
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Q18: How can a church help its young adults learn about HIV&AIDS?
A: Every church can help young adults learn about HIV&AIDS as an aspect of its teaching, preaching and serving opportunities.
Most Youth and Christian Education Ministries in churches include curriculum at age-appropriate levels throughout the year that
addresses many topics connected to HIV&AIDS, including healthy interpersonal and social relationships, human sexuality,
preparation for marriage, compassionate Christian service and developing a purpose-driven life through a Biblical worldview.
You can encourage the leaders of ministries in your church to include learning about HIV&AIDS when these subjects are taught.
We often learn our theology and attitudes toward caring for people and the world in church through preaching. Encouraging
pastors to teach series on and include references to Jesus’ ministry to the sick and how Christian service and mission can make
an impact on the HIV&AIDS pandemic locally and globally is another way to expose younger people to the challenges and
opportunities associated with HIV&AIDS. The Scriptures handle subjects that relate to HIV&AIDS such as human trafficking,
gender identity, sexual behavior, fidelity in marriage and much more.
Young adults may also be included in serving opportunities specifically ministering to people living with HIV&AIDS and their
families and friends. Small groups can serve families affected by HIV&AIDS by including them in their weekly meetings.
Parents can take the initiative to alert their children at all ages to the challenges and ministry opportunities presented by HIV&AIDS.
And we don’t want to forget resources. Use the print, audio and video resources on this site to inform, engage and equip leaders,
parents and young adults about HIV&AIDS and what everyone can do about it.
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Q19: Local AIDS Service Organizations are reluctant to let us volunteer. What can we do?
A: We know that local AIDS Services Organizations are concerned about a new wave of compassionate Christian involvement because of…
- The near-absence of the evangelical church in the fight against AIDS for the past 30 years
- Judgmental attitudes and actions of people who call themselves Christians toward those pursuing sexual behavior often associated with people living with HIV&AIDS
- Disdain, rejection and sometimes manifest hatred expressed for people living with HIV&AIDS from supposed Christians
- Fear that “compassionate Christians” have evangelism as their primary motivation and aren’t really concerned about the physical, emotional and practical needs of people living with HIV&AIDS
Given the previous examples, it’s not really strange that the HIV community should be suspicious or guarded in their response to the church.
The church must begin by admitting that we have not cared for those living with HIV&AIDS; humbly repent of our apathy, judgment and ignorance; and good-heartedly demonstrate a better way!
It takes time to earn trust. Don’t be discouraged if you are not initially welcomed with open arms.
- Continue to lovingly offer assistance- offer to do what the organization needs, not just what you want to do
- Show up at community events
- Learn all that you can about HIV&AIDS locally and globally
- Directly connect with a person living with HIV&AIDS and their family and friends and serve
- Attend local HIV&AIDS meetings and conferences
Prove by your actions that your church is serious about lovingly serving people living with HIV&AIDS and engaging in the fight against the virus.
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Q20: What can my church do about HIV&AIDS?
We believe that EVERY church can become engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS, so we’ve developed CHURCH, an acrostic, representing
a six-point action plan with three stages in each point to begin. While there is a role for governments and the private sector, the church is
the missing link. Here’s what CHURCH looks like:
Care for and support the sick
Churches are commanded to care by God. It is their calling and love leaves no choice. Local congregations are the only caring
organization found in almost every community around the world. It doesn’t take any special training to love!
Crawl: Increase your knowledge of HIV&AIDS by watching “HIV 101” at www.hivaidsinitiative.com. Send a card, make a call, or
visit someone who is sick in your own community. This requires only a few minutes of your time. You can choose to make it an
ongoing, organized ministry of your church, or just an informal way that individual members choose to reach out to those who are hurting.
Walk: Start a support group for people who are infected with or directly affected by HIV. A support group is a regular, biblically-based
meeting where people can share their stories, find connections, learn new skills, and be accepted in a Christ-centered environment.
Run: Form a CARE Team – a church-based small group that comes alongside a person with HIV&AIDS to offer friendship, care, and support.
A CARE Team doesn’t just offer emotional support, but practical help such as driving participants to doctor’s appointments, offering assistance
in the home, and helping access community health resources.
Handle HIV testing and counseling
Everyone should know their HIV status. The CDC has recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 receive an HIV test at least once in
their lifetime and that individuals in higher risk situations be tested annually. There are two reasons to know your HIV status: If you are negative,
stay negative! If you’re positive, you can access care and treatment and avoid transmitting the virus to others.
Crawl: Encourage members of your church to get tested for HIV. Explain what is involved in an HIV test, and let the congregation know where
they can get anonymous testing (www.hivtest.org).
Walk: Take a group from your church to be tested for HIV. Ideally, the senior pastor should lead the group and be the first to get tested to help reduce
the stigma of being tested for HIV. (Note: Results can/should remain confidential, revealed only if the person chooses).
Run: If local health regulations allow it, offer HIV testing in your church. Before testing, train church members to comfort and counsel people before
and after they receive their results. If local regulations don’t allow you to hold testing at your church, talk with health officials about ways your church
can help with testing and counseling.
Unleash a volunteer labor force
There will never be enough healthcare professionals in the world to teach prevention, administer treatment and offer care to those who need it. Churches have
the largest volunteer labor force on the planet – more than 2 billion members. What a difference we could make if this enormous, untapped pool of talent, energy
and compassion could be mobilized in the fight to support those infected and affected by HIV&AIDS!
Crawl: Equip people for ministry by studying the Purpose Driven Life and CLASS 301, where participants learn that every church member is
a minister. Study God’s plan for every member to be involved in caring for the sick in tangible ways.
Walk: Offer frequent informational meetings about HIV. Regularly connect your church members with small opportunities to serve locally
and globally. Make sure your ministry is not just about people who are HIV+ but actively engages HIV+ people on the leadership team.
Run: Build a team of volunteers who can help others in your community to become involved in caring for those who are HIV+. Become
a model of what every church can to about HIV&AIDS.
Remove the stigma
Churches must embrace people who are HIV+ by replacing rejection and alienation with mercy and acceptance. It is not a sin to be sick. The question
should not be, “How did you get infected?” rather, “How can we help you?”
Crawl: Determine what attitudes, myths and fears prevent you and your church from caring for those who are positive, and what keeps
those who are positive from disclosing their status. Become a friend to someone who is living with HIV.
Walk: Make HIV personal to your congregation by having HIV+ men and women give their testimony. Dispel stigma by touching and
hugging those who are positive. Treat PLWHA (People Living With HIV&AIDS) like you would treat anyone else. Incorporate HIV+ people into every aspect
of the life of your church.
Run: Demonstrate to your community that your church is taking leadership in caring and advocating for people who are HIV positive.
Show up at community HIV&AIDS events such as the local AIDS Walk. Set up a table that offers water and/or a booth that provides helpful resources.
Partner with local AIDS Services Organizations in projects that reflect shared values. Become a reliable source of Organizations in projects that reflect
shared values. Become a reliable source of HIV&AIDS information and support for your community.
Champion healthy behavior
HIV&AIDS is a complex disease, yet almost entirely preventable. Churches have the moral authority to promote healthy sexual behavior and to offer
the spiritual motivation for sexual abstinence before marriage, fidelity after marriage and drug-free living. Behavior change does not happen by
personal will-power or even accountability to others. Churches can offer a holistic approach that encompasses many aspects of prevention and treatment.
Crawl: Practice personal moral purity by remaining sexually abstinent before marriage and remaining faithful to your spouse in
a monogamous marriage. Refrain from using recreational and illegal intravenously-injected drugs.
Walk: Teach moral purity and sexuality from the Bible to every person in your congregation, including age-appropriate education
for children and youth. Teach how HIV is transmitted and how it can be prevented.
Run: Teach other churches and community members how to prevent HIV transmission. For example, connect with your local high
schools and colleges to offer training on all aspects of prevention and care. Offer Celebrate Recovery (Christian 12-step program) to those struggling
with alcohol, drug and sexual addictions which make people more vulnerable to HIV infection.
Help with HIV treatment
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While it is unexpected to visualize a role for local churches in helping with HIV treatment, the church can be an integral part of helping HIV+
individuals live longer. HIV treatment offers hope for a more normal lifespan but requires specialized pre-treatment preparation and treatment
support that the faith community can provide.
Crawl: Through sermons and seminars, dispel the belief that churches cannot be involved in HIV treatment. Invite a local
HIV&AIDS professional to help your congregation become knowledgeable about HIV&AIDS and treatment.
Walk: HIV treatment requires that an individual take their medications on time every day. Offer to support an HIV+
person by calling daily to remind them to take their medication.
Run: Explore how your church can provide pre-treatment preparation, treatment education and adherence support
for the entire family. Visit other parts of this website to learn more about HIV treatment.
Make a commitment to START an HIV ministry in your church using the CHURCH strategy. Access information
and inspirational resources on this website. Join the burgeoning network of churches in the HIV Caring Connection. Pray for the
day that HIV&AIDS loses its power to destroy lives and families.
Copyright © 2012 by Saddleback Church