HIV and AIDS
"This churchwide HIV and AIDS strategy acknowledges that the reality of AIDS in the twenty-first century demands strong action. Indifference or a shallow response is not an option if the church is to be faithful to its calling." - ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS
According to the latest UN AIDS report, at the end of 2009 33.3 million people globally are living with HIV. However, HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the last 10 years, AIDS- related deaths are down by nearly 20 percent in the last five years, and the total number of people living with HIV is stabilizing.
In the last 10 years game-changing advancements have come from the medical and scientific community with the advent and improvement of Anti-retroviral medications (ARVs). AIDS has officially shifted away from a death sentence to a manageable chronic illness.
Your ELCA Washington Office is working closely with the ELCA HIV and AIDS Strategy
implantation teams to advocate for those affected by HIV and AIDS in Capitol Hill, Washington, DC and at the UN in New York.
While amazing strides have been made to address HIV and AIDS, the reality remains that millions do not have access to life saving medications, services or care, and millions more lack basic knowledge on how to protect themselves from this virus. Additionally, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS is rampant, and the consequences are deadly. When HIV and AIDS carries a social taboo individuals are less likely to get tested, disclose their status, take their medication all of which adds unnecessary risk to others and themselves.
We can all take an active role in HIV prevention by educating ourselves about the virus, loving our neighbors unconditionally- regardless of their medical status, and by adding our voice to speak out for those suffering from HIV and AIDS both in the US and around the world.
Find out more from these detailed issue briefs from some of our coalition partners:Ecumenical Advocacy AllianceamFAR
What can you do?
- Learn: Educate yourself more about the HIV and AIDS crisis and invite your congregation to participate in activities.
- Advocate: Sign up for the ELCA e-Advocacy Network.
Ask your elected officials to support legislation that will halt the spread of HIV and AIDS, eliminate stigma and reduce conditions of poverty.
- Donate: Give today by clicking here, calling 800-638-3522, or mailing your gift to ELCA World Hunger, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694. Please note "HIV and AIDS" on the memo line.
- Serve: Invite your congregation to partner with an agency that is involved in HIV and AIDS work in your community.
- Pray: Pray for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and for the ELCA, that it will respond faithfully to the challenge of HIV and AIDS.
for more information, resources and ways to get involved.
On December 1, millions all over the world will observe World AIDS Day
. Affirmed by the new ELCA HIV and AIDS Strategy
, our church has renewed our collective commitment to love, care for and walk with those living with HIV or AIDS and help protect those most at risk of new infection.