Many years ago, I worked at a clinic and social service agency that assisted people living with AIDS. It was so long ago (1984) that HIV hadn’t been identified and named yet. In those early days, there was a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about how the illness was spread, and at the clinic we got hundreds of phone calls every month from people who were afraid—afraid they might be ill, afraid they might catch it from casual contact, afraid of the people who were in “high risk groups.”
Nowadays, people affected by HIV/AIDS have access to more effective medications and their prognosis is far better than it was in the 1980s, at least in North America. Today 37 million people are living with HIV. All of them need access to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, but only 16 million currently receive it.
Does your congregation offer any programs for people affected by HIV/AIDS? Do you have a special prayer service for World AIDS Day?
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