A collection of sermons on HIV related memorial days and events
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day (WAD) has been commemorated on 1 December for more than 20 years . It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
It is one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise further awareness in communities and across the world about the state of the pandemic, and critical next steps that must be taken to halt its spread. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
World AIDS Day 2015
World AIDS Day Resources from CABSA 2015
The theme for world AIDS Day 2015 remains "Getting to Zero". In a time when focus and attention on HIV is waning, experts are warning us that this can have serious consequences.
It is therefore essential that churches and faith communities maintain the focus on HIV.
CABSA is happy to again provide materials for this important event. This year we will use the Lectionary text for the Sunday before the first of December. This material is adapted from previous guidelines for 2012. We therefore have it available in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.
We will also share material from other sources as it becomes available. If you have material to share, please email it to Lyn at email@example.com
You can also download key messages from UNAIDS for World AIDS Day below. The UNAIDS World AIDS Day website is now live. You can access informaton and share your support here.
World AIDS Day Resources from Other Churches and Organisations for 2015
A suggested church service has been prepared by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, an initiative of the World Council of Churches and is available here
Presbyterian AIDS Network:
Please use our World AIDS Day resources to provide relevant educational activities within your church communities as well as advocacy, fund raising, direct service or partnering with other concerned churches and organizations. Access resources here.
In the light of limited resources, and because we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed in the EAA reflection, CABSA decided not to develop a seperate liturgy, but rather assist in the distribution of the EAA liturgy.
CABSA het ook die EAA liturgie in Afrikaans vertaal - dit kan hieronder afgelaai word.
CABSA is a long term member of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the most inclusive international advocacy network of churches and Christian organizations, with members representing Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. You can read more here.
In churches worldwide we celebrated the beginning of Advent on the 30th of November. In thousands of churches, we lit a candle of Hope.
Worldwide, we commemorate World AIDS Day on the 1st of December.
Is this an untenable contradiction? Can we, as people of faith, think of World AIDS Day in a context of Hope?
I think there is no beter time than Advent to be reminded of the HIV epidemic. Advent speaks of the yearning for God, the yearning for a new revelation, the yearning for promises to become reality.
When we look at the reality of the HIV epidemic, we also yearn for a new time, yearn for hope to become reality.
There has been so much progress, so many wonderful new developments. We even hear promises of an “AIDS free generation” or “the end of AIDS”! We know of the many amazing breakthroughs; that we now have a comprehensive basket of prevention methodologies, and particularly that we know how to prevent mother to child transmission; that we have medication available that can make HIV infection a chronic manageable disease; that there is information and knowledge available that should eradicate the stigma related to the disease.
And yet we know that in my country, South Africa, more people were newly infected in the last year, than passed matric (the final school year in our education system) and worldwide 2.1 million people were newly infected in 2013. And yet we know there are still 22 million people who are not accessing life-saving treatment, this includes 2 million children. And yet we know that stigma and discrimination still rob people from living life abundantly, from accessing healthcare and prevention tools.
So, yes, in spite of the exciting developments, we still hope for a new reality. A reality where there are ‘zero AIDS-related deaths, zero new HIV infections and zero discrimination”. Waiting can be passive, resigned and even without hope.
I have always believed the yearning of advent to be a active waiting. A time when we wait with the conviction that our hope and yearning will not be in vain. In some sense, a hope which we know has already been realised.
If we want to yearn, to hope, to wait in this way on World AIDS Day, our waiting also needs to be active. Modelling from UNAIDS tell us that we are at a tipping point, that we have a real chance to turn around the epidemic. But this can only happen if we increase our investment and activity. Not if we wait passively.
At the Faith-based preconference to the International AIDS Conference earlier this year, Luiz Loures, the UNAIDS deputy executive director reminded all of us that a complete response to the epidemic won’t be possible without the continuing involvement of faith-based groups.
On this World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the epidemic began, how will you wait? Passively, resigned? Or will you join us in a renewed, active and yearning hope, where our efforts will not end, before the epidemic ends.
May the God of hope renew the hope in us, and may this lead to renewed efforts and actions in our response to HIV.
Do you want to help?
There are many challenge that organisations responding to the challenges of HIV face. The reduced focus and attention on HIV also means reduced funding for HIV and HIV organisations. At this time of year, would you, your congregation or your organisation consider supporting CABSA financially? You can donate safely online by clicking the button or to the CABSA bank account:
Branch and Branch Code: Wellington (632005)
Name: Christian AIDS Bureau
Type of account: Active saving
Number: 910 467 4160
Swift Code: ABSAZAJJ
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance – HIV and AIDS Action Alert
World AIDS Day is observed on 1 December each year, helping to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in responding to the pandemic.
During 2011-2015, World AIDS Days have the theme of "Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". This signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all, a focus on the root causes of vulnerability to HIV transmission, and a call for all of us to fulfill the promises we have made – whether as political leaders, religious leaders or individuals.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance offers many resources for worship and action to celebrate God’s love for all of us, and to inspire us to maintain our focus and attention to achieve the vision of “zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths”.
Advent Calendar: Reflect and pray each day from 1 December to 6 January with our daily Advent devotions. The devotions, are available in English, French and Spanish. You can visit the calendar online at: http://advent.ecumenicaladvocacy.org
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is the most inclusive international advocacy network of churches and Christian organizations, with members representing Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. Our members are committed to speaking and acting together on issues of common concern, currently HIV andAIDS and Food. As an alliance of over 80 churches and church-related organizations located around the world with members and constituents in the tens of millions, we are called by our faith to stand for justice, peace and a sustainable world. www.e-alliance.ch
CABSA will again provide resources for sermons and liturgies for church services from a variety of sources. You are also welcome to scroll through the resources from previous years and to share any resource you may have with us.
Lectionary Reflection Normally we begin with a brief reflection of our own on the Revised Common Lectionary readings ... but for this week, we're quoting the start of the weekly "Bible Message in this Time of HIV" from the Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa (CABSA). To subscribe to these reflections, which are written by a different person each week, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It is the festive season, where we are rounding off the year, a good time for reflection, re-organising and restructuring in preparation for the next year. While this is so, we obviously join in the spirit of giving that dominates this season, and find ways and means of blessing other people and being a blessing as well.
The 1st of December is also World AIDS Day. It feels like so much is happening. And yes, indeed it is! And that is why I like the words we read in today’s scripture. It starts off with an urgency and instruction to be careful and to understand present times, and that we should WAKE UP!" (to read the full reflection, click here)
How do we pray? A UK-born colleague living in South Africa recently reflected that he was struck, returning to English churches, by intercessory prayer that spoke of people solely in terms of their needs. Where, he wondered, was the thanksgiving for these people? Should that, too, not be part of our prayers? In South Africa, he said, you always begin with thanks.
It's a good point to remember as we approach World AIDS Day. For those of us with family, friends and/or colleagues living with HIV - or indeed for anyone who cares about people living with HIV simply as fellow humans, made in the image and likeness of God - there is so much for which to give thanks. We can thank God:
for the lives of people we love ... and of people whom we may not know but whose lives are precious in God's sight
that the number of new HIV infections annually has dropped by 33% since 2001
for the difference that treatment has made
for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge that God has given scientists;
for the medical advances that mean that it is now possible to reduce risks of transmission and to live well with HIV; and
for the increased funding and building of better health systems that mean that 9.7 million people are now receiving treatment, up from 1.3 million in 2005.
that AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 30% since 2005.
for people - both HIV positive and HIV negative - who call prophetically for justice and love for people living with HIV
for the love showed by people like Sarah, whom we met this summer. Sarah's beautiful foster daughter was sent to her three years ago as an HIV+ baby, not expected to live ... but has flourished in her loving care. Sarah has asked for our prayers "for the success of our HIV programmes"
Thanksgiving, of course, doesn't rule out other forms of prayer. We can pray for repentance - on our own behalf and/or on behalf of our churches and communities more widely:
for times when we have contributed to the stigma that places heavy burdens on people known to be living with HIV ... and prevents others from getting tested for fear of rejection.
for times when we have failed to understand the realities that people living with HIV face, and for times when we have offered misleading or damaging advice ... or apathy ... as a result
for times when we have accepted limited progress as sufficient, instead of pressing for progress for all people
for failing to address adequately the issues of poverty, abuse of power, violence and damaging cultural norms that underlie the spread of HIV and AIDS
And as we survey the situation today, we remember that we are the members of the Body of Christ, linked inextricably with many who are living with HIV. And we pray, as parts of the Body:
for all people infected or affected by HIV and AIDS.
for those who have not been able to access treatment consistently. Pray that all people may receive appropriate education for prevention and appropriate treatment. Pray especially:
that drug companies will work on pediatric AIDS medication, despite the fact that it is not profitable for them;
that inappropriate patents and new intellectual property agreements will not render it harder for people to access essential medicines;
that fake or sub-standard medications will be eliminated; and
that better health systems will enable the hardest to reach people to access medical support.
for all who are suffering from stigma and isolation, or the fear of stigma and isolation, because of their HIV status. Pray that they may receive support from those around them, and that they may know God's healing and comforting presence. Pray for a change of hearts and minds so that no one need fear stigmatisation because of living with HIV.
for all who find this World AIDS Day difficult because it brings back memories of loss. UNAIDS estimates that last year 1.6 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses: pray especially for the family and friends of those who have recently died.
for all orphans and vulnerable children. Globally UNAIDS estimates that 17.8 million children have lost one or both of their parents. Pray:
for God's special protection on child-headed households.
that children who are heads of households will be kept safe and will be able to experience the joys and opportunities of childhood and young adulthood.
in thanksgiving for individuals, government institutions, churches, community institutions and others who assist orphans and vulnerable children,
for the success of their work.
for all carers who see suffering and sometimes feel powerless in the face of it. Pray that God will grant them spiritual sustenance and supportive communities.
for all churches that are seeking to become places where those who are HIV+ are valued members of the community. For all churches that are providing support for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, inside the church and outside it.
for all who have been raped, abused or exploited, and especially those who have been infected by HIV as a result. Pray:
for an end to the use of rape and HIV infection as a weapon of war.
that societies around the world will educate their members about safe, appropriate, respectful relationships and especially that they will make it clear that sexual violence is wrong.
for church campaigns such as We Will Speak Out, Restored and all who help churches to promote godly, loving relationships and to prevent/end gender-based violence.
that governments, businesses, individuals and agencies - some of whom are cutting back their support for prevention and treatment (see ONE report below) - will set aside the funds needed to enable prevention programmes and to ensure that all people can access the treatment they need.
that the forthcoming pledging meeting for The Global Fund will reach and exceed its targets.
that those involved in providing treatment will make a special effort to reach the most vulnerable people and communities.
It's always worth looking back at some older liturgies, especially those from the EAA (here's their 2009 service, which has some very beautiful prayers) and from the ecumenical Diakonia Council of Churches, whose World AIDS Day services (the last is here) are very helpful.
the wide range of resources from Strategies for Hope - browse them (you can read several online) to see inspiring stories of what faith groups are doing and - especially in the Called to Care toolkits - to find excellent bible studies and materials for group work (they're not primarily written for a UK context but can be used here)
EAA - Action Alert: What are you doing this World AIDS Day? 21/11/2013
What are you doing this World AIDS Day?
On 1 December – just a week or so away! – thousands of people across the world, including many EAA members and partners, will be involved in World AIDS Day events and activities to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in responding to the pandemic.
Please share what you are doing with us on Facebook and Twitter!
As EAA, we would love to help publicize your event to others. It can amplify the impact of your work, and also inspire others to similar action! If you have an activity or event, please do let us know about it. You can send us a picture via Twitter (@e_alliance) or post it directly to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/livethepromise. You can also send an email to email@example.com and we will post your news for you.
Not planned anything yet? Then here are some last minute ideas!
Why not, at the very least, sign up to receive the EAA’s Online Advent Calendar:www.advent.ecumenicaladvocacy.org, and encourage others to do so too. You could also organize a short time of prayer at your place of work or even at home, using all or part of the EAA’s World AIDS Day liturgy. Both the advent calendar and liturgy are available in French, English and Spanish, and the liturgy is additionally available in German.
And no matter what you do, please engage in these online EAA activities!
For World AIDS Day, the EAA will launch a report assessing the impact of the fulfillment of a personal commitment that some 450 religious leaders have signed since March 2010. The online presentation of the report will invite comments and reactions from the public. Please log on to www.hivcommitment.net as of 1 December to engage in this online conversation about the role of religious leaders is and should be in response to HIV.
Between 1 December (World AIDS Day) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day), the EAA, along with its partners, World YWCA and the WCC, will be releasing a new video each day to presenting the thoughts of various people of faith on issues related to HIV, human rights and reproductive health. The videos were filmed at the recent WCC Assembly in Busan, and will be available on our Facebook page.
(If you are in Geneva, you are also welcome to a service for World AIDS Day at the Ecumenical Centre at 0830 on Monday 2 December.. and you should also look out for a poster on a tram in the center of Geneva calling for ‘zero discrimination’!)
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/
Fikelela Eucharist Focusing on HIV and AIDS 2013
Liturgy provided by Fikelela AIDS Project "Together we stand against stigma", (Adapted from the Service booklet at the Launch of Isiseko Sokomoleza: 2003 Auhorized by Archbishop Ndungane, with thanks to Rev Cheryl Bird)
National Episcopal AIDS Coalition World AIDS Day Prayers
World AIDS Day Prayers
A Collect for World AIDS Day
Loving God, You provide comfort and hope to those who suffer. Be present with all HIV positive persons and their families in this and every land, that they may be strengthened in their search for health, wholeness and abundant living, through Christ our Companion. Amen.
Prayers of the People on World AIDS Day
Holy Friend and Comforter: On this World AIDS Day we remember especially the thirty three million persons now living with HIV in all nations. Be with them, we pray. Lord, hear our prayer. Lead our government and the governments of all countries to protect and promote the rights of HIVpositive persons to treatment, health and stigma-free living.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Be with groups and organizations that respond faithfully and with sacrifice to the daily needs of HIVpositive persons for food, housing, health care and employment. [We remember especially _________________________.]
Lord, hear our prayer.
Guide all organizations that advocate HIV/AIDS prevention through education and outreach that they may be successful in their efforts especially among at-risk populations and among those with health disparities. [We remember especially __________________.]
Lord, hear our prayer.
Inspire and encourage the men and woman who spend their lives researching treatments and possible cures for HIV/AIDS.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Receive all who have died of AIDS and give them healing peace in your eternal presence. [We remember especially ___________________.]
Caring God, you have promised “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). It is with this calm assurance, believing that your Kingdom will come, that we offer our prayers to you this day through Jesus Christ. Amen.
*Liturgical resources for World AIDS Day 2009 prepared by Br. Daniel-Chad Hoffman, CTG, for use by the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC)
Presbyterian AIDS Network Resources for World AIDS Day 2013
Download resources for incorporating HIV and AIDS emphasis in your worship, year-round.
The messaging in South Africa for World AIDS Day 2013 will focus on two issues: the launch of a revitalised HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign and a campaign to expand access to and the uptake of medical male circumcision (MMC) services.
The main event for this World AIDS Day will be held in the Gert Sibande district of Mpumalanga. The venue has been chosen specifically because there is a need to address the levels of HIV infection in the area as the latest antenatal survey has shown that the district has the country’s largest HIV prevalence – 46%.
The enclosed power-point guide illustrates the proposed approach, pillars and communication objectives of World AIDS Day 2013. We request provinces to align their plans with the proposed approach. It is highly recommended that colleagues should amplify the approved theme within various media platforms, IEC and promotional materials that will be produced in support of World AIDS Day.
The attached message booklet seeks to be a guide towards crafting tailor-made messages that will suit different environments and dynamics.
Although its official annual observance is December 1, each day a person in the world is living with AIDS is a World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day is an important occasion for building awareness and stepping-up our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in our own communities and around the world. Yes, there have been significant medical advances and more people are on treatment than ever before. Still, the scale of response is not meeting the need for treatment, prevention, care and support.
The importance of the whole church engaging in HIV response has never been more critical. As never before, there is a path to ending the epidemic in our lifetime. The implementation of the 27th General Synod's resolution, "Calling for Comprehensive HIV Prevention in Church and Community," is the road map for the UCC, inviting the whole church to be faithful to do all it can.
As you plan for this global observance, please use the following resources, adapting them according to the needs of your particular context.
Global Ministries is the common witness of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of Disciples and the UCC.
UCAN is an independent 501c3 organization affiliated with the United Church of Christ. We rely on the grace and generosity of those who share our mission to provide effective HIV prevention, as well as, spiritual outreach services to care for those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Please consider making a donation today by clicking on donate below.
WAD Message by Annemarie Boks, director of the AIDS Awareness Program CECA 20, DR Congo
Sunday December first 2013.
A date for a special day. Why? Today is World AIDS Day. A day in which worldwide people remember those who died of illnesses related to AIDS, because the virus weakens the body so that it can no longer defend itself against other diseases. Worldwide many people are living with HIV (in 2011 they numbered around 34 million) or they know family members who are infected. There are people who care for people living with HIV, like doctors, nurses, pastors, counselors but also family members.
In the DRC we don’t know how many people have been infected with HIV. The World Health Organization says it is between 1-2% (which means that of 70 million of Congolese, 1-1.5 million have been infected with HIV). We in the AIDS Awareness Program think that their number may even be 5-10% (3.5-7 million people). We think so because there are no centers for voluntary testing and counseling (VCT). Also because there are no treatment centers for people living with HIV and AIDS. Many Congolese die without knowing if they have been infected by HIV.
If one is diagnosed to be HIV positive, does he have to tell his family that he is infected, to his friends or just keep silent because of the discrimination he will face, because of his fear to be left alone? Will he be refused? Will he be fired from his work? Many people living with HIV don’t tell anything to keep their friends. Stigma is still big. It is the reality that people with HIV lose their work and that others fear to be with them. This even happens in our churches. Stigma is huge, and we also keep people living with HIV far from us and far from our church.
In the Bible we see an illness like HIV/AIDS, leprosy. Jesus touched a man who had leprosy in Mark 1 :40-45. This man was unclean, and had to warn others to not approach him. We see that people living with HIV are like the lepers in the time of the Bible. And they suffer the more because of it. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 that our body has many parts. He compares our body with the body of Christ. Christians are the body of Christ. If one part suffers, all parts suffer with him. If one part is glad, all parts rejoice. We see tis during weddings and during funerals. Among us are people who suffer, the people living with HIV, of whom the body is weak because they lack strength to defend it against other diseases. They are parts of our body who need assistance, who need help, who need encouragement, who need a prayer, … a sign of love. Are we ready to help them? To encourage them? Like we are, they are part of the body of Christ. They are people who need to hear and experience the love of Christ for them.
The AIDS Awareness Program of CECA 20, DR Congo, tries to show this love through the work we do. We organize many activities, like teaching in the schools, in churches, in communities, through radio broadcasts or film show. We work with people living with HIV; we work for orphans, and for all people. If you want to know more about HIV and AIDS, or if you want to invite us, you re welcome to talk with us in Adi.
To close, we are grateful to God to grant us financial support to be able to organize the training the National AIDS Program Congo wants to give for our medical workers so that they can start with the treatment program of people living with HIV at the hospital in Adi.
1 Cor.12 :26-27 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is part of it.
Annemarie Boks, director of the AIDS Awareness Program CECA 20, DR Congo
World AIDS Campaign.
About World AIDS Day
What is World AIDS Day?
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
Why is World AIDS Day important?
Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
What should I do on World AIDS Day?
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.
If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.
You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.
Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round. That’s why NAT has launched HIVaware — a fun, interactive website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. Why not use what you have learnt on World AIDS Day to Act Aware throughout the year and remember, you can fundraise at any time of year too — NAT is always here to give you suggestions and ideas.
World AIDS Day Resources 2013 from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
What is World AIDS Day?
World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year, is an important opportunity when governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals around the world bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic and emphasize the critical need for a committed, meaningful and sustained response.
The global theme for World AIDS Day from 2011-2015, as selected by the World AIDS Campaign, is “Getting to Zero.” Backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.
How to get your Faith Community Involved in Worlds AIDS Day
A World AIDS Day Liturgy, developed by the EAA, is available in English, French, Spanish, and German. The liturgy will contain scripture readings and prayers that may be adapted to your local context.
Some EAA members and partners develop their own resources for World AIDS Day that may inspire your World AIDS Day events this year. They include:
The Christian AIDS Bureau of Southern Africa (CABSA) and the CARIS programme in South Africa highlight resources focusing on the Christian response to HIV at their website. These include Bible messages, prayers, poems, stories and liturgies.
The Balm Gilead has developed a number of resources around the National Week of Prayer for Healing of AIDS, observed in the United States in March each year. These resources include a guide on how to develop a sermon around HIV and AIDS and an online worship book containing liturgy, prayers, and hymns that may be used in World AIDS day services, Both resources may be downloaded here
Church of Scotland has also produced some useful resources, available here
Congregations and faith communities may also consider inviting a person living openly with HIV to be a guest speaker at a World AIDS Day service or event.
Reflect and pray with the new 'Live the Promise' Advent Calendar
Continue your World AIDS Day reflections into Advent with an online devotional calendar in English, Spanish and French. Written by EAA members from around the globe, short devotions on current HIV issues will lead leaders in daily Biblical reflection and prayer from 1 December until 6 January. You can subscribe to receive devotions by email, or plan to visit the site daily at
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year, or the Sunday closest to it.
Communities around the world remember those we have lost to the disease, and stand in solidarity with people who are affected by HIV and AIDS. From 2011 to 2015, the global focus on HIV and AIDS is "Getting to Zero."
These resources are offered to help with worship planning for World AIDS Day:
World AIDS Dayis commemorated worldwide on the 1st of December each year. It is one of the most recognised and longest running international health days.
WAD is a key opportunity to:
raise awareness and knowledge levels,
commemorate those who died because of AIDS related conditions,
demonstrate international solidarity, and
celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
You can read more about World AIDS Day, its history, whether it is still relevant, suggestions for activities etc on the CABSA World AIDS Day 2011 page.
CABSA again developed liturgical material and sermon guidelines in Afrikaas and English. isiXhosa Material will be available soon. Material and links from other partners and organisations are provided and resources from previous years are also available.
If you use the material, would you please let us know? You are also welcome to submit pictures or programmes of your event. Criticism is always welcome - tell us what you would like us to do differently next year! Contact Lyn with your feedback.
1989: Our Lives, Our World – Let’s Take Care of Each Other
1990: Women and AIDS
1991: Sharing the Challenge
1992: AIDS: Community Commitment
1993: “Time to Act”
1994: AIDS and the Family
1995: Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
1996: One World. One Hope
1997: Children Living in a World with AIDS
1998: Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People
1999: Listen, Learn, Live! World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People
2000: AIDS: Men Make a Difference
2001: Men Make a Difference: “I care. Do you?”
2002/3: Live and Let Live: Stigma and Discrimination
2004: ‘Have you heard me today? Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
2005: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2006: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Accountability
2007: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Take the Lead”
2008: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Lead-Empower-Deliver”
2009: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right
2010: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right
2011: Getting to Zero
2012: Getting to Zero
CABSA World AIDS Day Liturgy 2012
CABSA annually makes material available for church services focusing on World AIDS Day. The English Liturgy and sermon tips can be downloaded below.
'n Deurkollekte of gereelde maandelikse bydrae help CABSA om ons deurlopende dienste, soos hierdie, gratis te verskaf.
The isiXhosa translation can be provided with gratitude to CABSA Board member and Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator, Phaphile Celesi, who did the translation.
If you use the material, would you please let us know? You are also welcome to submit pictures or programmes of your event. Criticism is always welcome - tell us what you would like us to do differently next year! Contact Lyn with your feedback.
Hannes Mentz: Thank you for the resources for World AIDS Day. I had to do a three part series for it for our volunteer group that does home visits, as well as three Bible studies for the volunteers and carers together. CABSA had it all - I could find very little else of use on the internet, especially for our country. Thank you.
Maranda St John Nicole: Thanks for this! We sent out to about 260 directly, but it then cascades outwards (for example, one diocese posts it to their website; it goes onto the World Development Advisers website for the Church of England; etc etc). This makes it really hard for us to guess "reach" ... ..Just to note for your numbers some more people who picked up your material via the WAD email. Two that I've noticed are Churches Together in Oxfordshire, which sent the email out in toto to all churches in the county, and then Commitment for Life (the United Reformed Church's international social justice programme), which picked up the CABSA resource (and some other things) and put them on their website.
World AIDS Day Resources from other Organisations
Resources from various organisations will be collected here. You are welcome to share your resources:
This year, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared two new resources to support your World AIDS Day activities within your faith community, workplace, wider community or family.
World AIDS Day Service
This year’s liturgy focuses our hearts and minds on reaching the goal of ‘Zero AIDS-related deaths, Zero new HIV infections and Zero discrimination’. Through prayers, readings, silent reflection and corporate actions and words, congregants are led on a journey, faithfully thanking God for keeping his promises and committing themselves to doing their part to help realize them in love.
You, your family members, colleagues and friends are invited to sign-up to receive daily Advent devotions on HIV in your inbox between 1 December and 6 January 2013. Each devotion is written by an EAA member responding to HIV around the globe. Readers will receive insights into this crucial work, as well as inspiration and challenge for their own actions and engagement in the HIV response.
A World AIDS Day Worship Service with the theme "'There Will Be Signs: Worshiping Toward An AIDS-Free World" was made available by Amee Paparella, Director & Organizer for Women’s Advocacy at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. More details and the material ca be downloaded from the website .
Each year, ADRA, along with the worldwide community, commemorates World AIDS Day to show its support and involvement in the global effort to stop AIDS. The fight to halt the spread of this deadly disease is one of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced. ADRA is working to stop AIDS, and we invite you to take up the challenge, too.
Use the following resources to help you-along with your church, community, or school group-get involved in the global effort to stop AIDS.
The importance of the whole church engaging in HIV response has never been more critical. As never before, there is a path to ending the epidemic in our lifetime. The implementation of the 27th General Synod's resolution, "Calling for Comprehensive HIV Prevention in Church and Community," is the road map for the UCC, inviting the whole church to be faithful to do all it can.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day (1st December 2012) in which he highlights that ‘nearly 2 million women, every year, die as a result of this condition’, a fact which underlines that the ‘HIV/AIDS challenge is about women’s empowerment and women’s liberty.’
Dr Williams recorded the video message during a recent visit to Papua New Guinea, where ‘the question of violence against women is a major one for this society, and one in which the churches are beginning to step up to make a common witness.’
Speaking about the link between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence, Dr Williams said ‘HIV/AIDS is regularly both the cause and the result of gender-based violence. It results often from rape, from unacceptable and degrading sexual practices. It’s the result of attitudes towards women that demean them, that deny their human dignity…HIV/AIDS is also the cause of violence; it’s the cause of stigma and rejection, and suspicion.’
“I believe it’s crucial for governments, NGOs, civil society agencies worldwide, to keep their eyes firmly on the connection between … the challenges around HIV, and the challenges around gender equality; the challenges posed to the dignity and the freedom of women worldwide.”
He talks about how the global profile of HIV/AIDS has changed in his ten years as Archbishop, but that there are still many challenges which governments, in collaboration with churches, other faith organisations and civil society, can overcome:
“We’ve made real advances; certainly in the last 15 or 20 years it’s become no longer true that AIDS is a death sentence. There are 33 million people now living with AIDS, and living constructively… In the last two years alone, there’s been a 20% increase in access to antiretroviral drugs worldwide, and yet there are still some 7 million people who don’t have access to such drugs.”
“The statistics show quite clearly that we are able to make fantastically large changes in how this crisis, how this challenge, impacts on us globally. We’ve seen real advance. We’ve also seen the political will in governments sometimes slack on this; people have got too used to this. Yet, we know what can be achieved; we know that governments, working with civil society, working with churches and faith organisations, can eliminate this [suffering].”
The Archbishop outlines an integrated approach which addresses the social drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic:
“What we do in response to the challenge is a matter of education; not just of medical care; a matter also of equipping people to speak honestly with each other about these issues. If there is one thing which, as I come towards the end of my time as Archbishop of Canterbury, I long to see growing and developing it’s that sense of the integration, education, gender respect, medical access, as part of a holistic, personal approach to this question.”
“My hope and my prayer, is that by keeping those issues together in play, we shall indeed succeed in doing so within the lifetime of those 33 million people now living with HIV today. May they have a life and a future, with their children, with their communities, safely at peace, living creatively and faithfully.”
Faith groups working with the UN and other agencies is key to this strategy. Dr Rowan Williams and Michel Sidibé (Executive Director of UNAIDS) have written about ending gender-based violence.
The full transcript is below:
In the ten years that I’ve spent as Archbishop of Canterbury, the map has changed quite a bit in regard to the global portrait, the global profile of HIV/AIDS. We’ve made real advances; certainly in the last 15 or 20 years it’s become no longer true that AIDS is a death sentence. There are 33 million people now living with AIDS, and living constructively, even creatively with it; ministering to one another, and sending out a message that is genuinely positive to the whole of their society.
In the last two years alone, there’s been a 20% increase in access to antiretroviral drugs worldwide, and yet there are still some 7 million people who don’t have access to such drugs. Very significantly, nearly 2 million women, every year, die as a result of this condition. That underlines for me, something very important, something that we’ve often lost sight of. The HIV/AIDS crisis, the HIV/AIDS challenge, is about women’s empowerment and women’s liberty.
HIV/AIDS is regularly both the cause and the result of gender-based violence. It results often from rape, from unacceptable and degrading sexual practices. It’s the result of attitudes towards women that demean them, that deny their human dignity.
Here in Papa New Guinea, where I’m speaking from the Anglicare Centre in Port Moresby, the question of violence against women is a major one for this society, and one in which the churches are beginning to step up to make a common witness.
HIV/AIDS is also the cause of violence; it’s the cause of stigma and rejection, and suspicion. Sometimes even worse, when there are suspicions, as there are here [and in parts of Africa], about sorcery or magic as a source for infection, women are usually the first targets.
In the future, I believe it’s crucial for governments, NGOs, civil society agencies worldwide, to keep their eyes firmly on the connection between these two issues. Between the challenges around HIV, and the challenges around gender equality; the challenges posed to the dignity and the freedom of women, worldwide.
In reacting to the condition, the sufferings, and the hopes and aspirations of those who live with HIV, we need to remember that we are working together. Not just for a solution to a medical problem, but for something that addresses all kinds of cultural stereotypes, cultural prejudices, cultural imprisonment sometimes.
What we do in response to the challenge is a matter of education; not just of medical care; a matter also, of equipping people to speak honestly with each other, about these issues. If there is one thing which, as I come towards the end of my time as Archbishop of Canterbury, I long to see growing and developing, it’s that sense of the integration, education, gender respect, medical access, as part of a holistic, personal approach to this question.
The statistics show quite clearly that we are able to make fantastically large changes in how this crisis, how this challenge, impacts on us globally. We’ve seen real advance. We’ve also seen the political will in governments sometimes slack on this; people have got too used to this. Yet, we know what can be achieved; we know that governments, working with civil society, working with churches and faith organisations, can eliminate this [suffering].
My hope and my prayer, is that by keeping those issues together in play, we shall indeed succeed in doing so within the lifetime of those 33 million people now living with HIV today. May they have a life and a future, with their children, with their communities, safely at peace, living creatively and faithfully.
How Faith Communities Can Help Reduce the Risk of HIV - A Special Announcement in Honor of World AIDS Day. 28/12/2012
By Sarah Flocken, Associate for Women and Girl Programs and Communications
How do you educate millions of people whose lives may be at risk from HIV, when their cultures or religions taboo any open discussion of sex?
This is one of the biggest challenges in the fight for an HIV/AIDS-free world. Shame, stigma, and misinformation stemming from cultural and/or religious restrictions on talking about human sexuality are serious barriers to HIV risk-reduction education, especially in rural areas with limited access to medical and educational resources.
At the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA), we have always found that targeting faith leaders across religious institutions, in the spirit of honest education in the language of their faith, yields great results for community health and well-being – this is because in many areas, faith leaders are often the most trusted sources of guidance and information. This overall strategy of engaging faith communities to promote positive behavior change, is something we call “The Faith Effect” – and we believe it can be used to end the stigma, shame, and misinformation surrounding HIV, and open up honest conversations about HIV risk reduction strategies in areas with high infection rates.
Faith communities have long been vital allies in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For example, The International Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA +) and the World Council of Churches have united religious leaders across faith traditions in the name of promoting open discussion and HIV advocacy. CIFA seeks to build on these organizations’ gains and continue to develop concrete tools and plans of action for faith leaders who wish to educate their communities.
CIFA’s most recent research and collaboration efforts in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Mozambique have re-affirmed the validity of this approach, and have resulted in exciting new developments in our interfaith HIV risk reduction work. The results of this research were used to develop messages and educational tools to be used across faiths, with appropriate religious textual references. We have developed an interfaith education toolkit for faith and religious leaders, “PrEParing Your Community: A Toolkit for HIV Education & Risk Reduction.” The guide consists of lessons and information about the full range of HIV risk reduction methods available, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (anti-retrovirals taken by HIV-negative people in the form of a pill or gel to reduce their risk of infection from an HIV-positive partner) as well as resources and tools for these leaders to help engage their communities in discussion of many healthy HIV risk reduction strategies.
On October 31, 2012, we submitted our completed toolkit, a template which can be easily adapted to local needs to our funders at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.
The “PrEParing Your Community” toolkit is a faith leader guide that consists of multiple interactive components, and is designed to be used by three of the largest faith communities our target countries: Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam. Practical information is presented in the language of faith, and is easily adapted across several different cultures. The toolkit:
Begins with an opportunity for faith leaders to inform themselves about HIV, and the myths surrounding transmission and prevention.
Offers guidance on organizing discussions: once they feel they know enough to begin talking about HIV, faith leaders can then “Begin the Conversation” with their community, either one-on-one or in small or large groups.
Provides “Conversation Starters” with faith-specific messages and verses about HIV risk-reduction, centered around kindness and acceptance towards all, and our duty to protect others.
Includes lesson plans with activities for men’s, women’s, and youth groups associated with Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim houses of worship, as well as a pre-marital counseling guide for young couples.
CIFA is excited to announce this breakthrough in our initiative to provide real ways for religious leaders to end shame and stigma, and promote positive education and action through this branch of “The Faith Effect.” We are pleased to be able to help empower faith leaders around the world, in places where these messages are needed most, and look forward to seeing how this program can be scaled up.
More than a Prayer: Faith Communities’ Response to Sexual Violence. 30/11/2012
A dialogue between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Michel Sidibé of UNAIDS for World Aids Day.
HIV positive women make red ribbons, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Photograph: Getty Images
Excerpt from the letter of Gracia Violeta Ross, co-founder of Bolivia's first organization for people living with HIV
“As the daughter of an evangelical pastor, a rape survivor and an HIV positive advocate, these issues [of church responses to sexual violence] are very close to my heart. I can tell you the worst experience of my life was the experience of rape. I remember a Christian organisation tried to address these issues, but it was not easy. Sadly, some of the reasons were that most church and religious leaders are men, and, as such, they often fail to recognise the power they have. Yes, they might be Christian, but they are still men who grow up in the teachings of a dominating gender system, which hardly recognised the voices and rights of women. Also, when trying to do some work related to sexual violence, often in the religious communities we tend to 'spiritualise' the topic. Addressing sexual violence needs prayers but much more than prayers.”
On World Aids Day, we celebrate our continuing progress against the HIV epidemic. But we must recognize again this year that women and girls still face the higher risk of infection - and why, gender inequity is the fuel that feeds the fire of violence against women and girls, and it is both a cause and consequence of women’s increased vulnerability to HIV.
In many societies, women and girls face unequal opportunities, discrimination, and human rights violations. And while laws may exist on the books to protect their rights and give them greater opportunities, these rights aren’t always fulfilled or supported by society and its leaders—including faith leaders.
I recently received a letter from Gracia Violeta Ross, an outspoken activist for women who have survived rape and are living with HIV — like herself.
As many survivors do, she turned to her church for support, but found it lacking in many ways. I agree with her that it takes more than prayer to heal and empower women who have endured sexual violence—to transform them from victims to survivors. It takes compassionate leadership that reaches beyond scripture and traditional rites and teachings.
While the church — or the synagogue, temple or mosque — can be a rock-solid source of unmoving strength to a community, it must also be able to respond sensitively to the needs of women who have been hurt. For example, can an institution whose leaders are almost always men truly perceive the fears and hear the voices of women at risk of violence? And when it advocates for strong families, can it appreciate that the danger to women and girls often lurks inside their own homes? Do care, support and justice extend to women who sell sex or use drugs? Or who are transgendered? Yes. There should be no line that distinguishes who deserves and who does not.
Women who have been victims of violence need many things: To have their dignity restored and to be protected from stigma and shame. To ensure their attackers brought to justice. To have access to psychological and medical care, including sexual and reproductive health. And ultimately, to be empowered, like Violeta, as leaders in achieving full equity in their worlds.
My question to Archbishop Williams is this: beyond prayers and spiritual comfort, what more can the church offer to survivors of sexual violence?
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Gracia Violeta’s letter is moving and disturbing. You are quite right to underline the concerns it raises about how religion can sometimes reinforce violent and oppressive attitudes to women, how it can help to silence honesty and protest, and so can make even worse the position of women who are at risk of and from HIV infection.
What can be done? A lot has already been initiated to challenge the distorted theology that can underlie violent or collusive behaviour. Many churches I know have taken the biblical story of the rape of King David’s daughter Tamar as a starting point for rethinking their approach and clarifying the unacceptability of the male behaviour depicted in this and other stories. If we are to make progress here, we have to expose toxic and destructive patterns of masculinity. And for cultures steeped in the Bible, it is important to start by showing that the Bible does not endorse or absolve violence against women.
But in addition, there needs to be a coherent and persistent message about breaking the silence. The "Silent No More” campaign has found wide support; and the launch in 2011 of the We Will Speak Out coalition of faith groups and faith leaders, in the wake of the research done by Tearfund's Silent No More, has proved a benchmark for challenging communities and leaders who fail to see this as a priority. Our own Anglican archbishops from DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi have had a leading role in this. And last year’s conference of Anglican primates issued a full and robust statement on gender-related violence which has now been strongly reaffirmed by the global Anglican Consultative Council.
These policy statements rest on a lot of impressive grassroots practice, linking survivors to medical, legal and counselling support, and local livelihood training schemes – and also naming and shaming the culture of impunity, especially the impunity of those who in any way exercise power, in churches or elsewhere. But so often in my own travels I have found the most important service the Church can offer is to be a place where it is safe to speak about what has happened. Last year in DR Congo, and more recently in a Church-based centre in Papua New Guinea, I had the painful privilege of spending time with women who had accessed the services offered by the Church and were finding a new voice and new courage to confront those who had humiliated and abused them, and to support one another. These responses by local faith communities are inspiring, but need to be far more widely replicated.
Building a new culture of openness and mutual support is essential. Out of this grows the sort of comprehensive change we want to see – change in understandings of masculinity, the end of paralysing stigma, a new approach to legal redress, a place for the leadership and advocacy of survivors themselves, an audible voice for women.
We sometimes speak of a fivefold response – Prevention, Protection, Provision of services, Prosecution and Partnerships. All I have mentioned so far illustrates how this looks in practice. We are morally and religiously bound to give the highest priority to making this response a universal reality, and are glad to have the support and solidarity of UNAIDS in this. It is a calling that has been laid upon us by a God whose will is always for human dignity and compassion.
How can UN agencies strengthen their partnership with faith communities to respond more effectively to ending sexual violence?
Response from Michel Sidibé
For myself, I make a point of sitting down with religious leaders and faith-based organizations in the countries I visit and talk about ways to partner for people and communities. It is a priority of UNAIDS to engage religious leaders for thoughtful action on critical human rights issues such as sexual violence. In the coming year, I will be traveling to many countries which have high levels of sexual and gender based violence and mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and will convene with local religious leaders and organizations that are working specifically on these issues.
UNAIDS is currently partnering with the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Global Network of People living with HIV and the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Affected by HIV to develop a framework for dialogue around HIV. We intend to give religious leaders, people living with HIV, women who have experienced rape, and people most vulnerable to HIV who have been stigmatized greater support and guidance for discussing these difficult issues, hopefully leading to faith community responses like the ones the Archbishop witnessed in Africa. I am confident that we will all come to greater understanding through this process, and the lives of women, their families and their society will be improved and enriched.
World AIDS Day Message, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
30 November, 2012
Getting to Zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths ’
“Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of ‘Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths’. The World AIDS Campaign focus on ‘Zero AIDS related deaths’ signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all”.
The World AIDS Day report 2012 shows that more than 50% reduction in the rate of new HIV infections has been achieved across 25 low-and middle-income countries. The area where perhaps the greatest progress is being made is in reducing new HIV infections in children. Half of the global reductions in new HIV infections in the last two years has been among newborn children. “It is becoming evident that achieving zero new HIV infections in children is possible,” said Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. Of the 34 million people living with HIV, about half do not know their HIV status. The report states that if more people knew their status, they could come forward for HIV services. The report also shows that HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs. However, HIV prevention and treatment programmes are largely failing to reach these key populations.
For the Catholic Church in India, health care is essentially an expression of concern for the sick and the suffering, following the footsteps of her master, Jesus the divine healer. Through her vast health care network in India, in addition to her work in general health care of the people, the Church has always been committed to the cause of HIV/AIDS. Along with the civil society, the church is also committed to work towards this initiative - ‘Getting to Zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths ’.
Under the National AIDS Control Program, with grants from the Global Fund, the PACT project (Promoting Access to Care and Treatment) of CBCI has been setting up Community Care Centers (CCCs) for PLHA in the States of West Bengal, Gujarat, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Jharkhand since June 2007. Till date, a total of 49 CCCs have been successfully functioning, which has enrolled more than 53, 100 PLHA for care and support services. Moreover, 93 PLHA are working as project staff whose presence is not only inspirational for their peers but also brings in much more sensitivity and ownership into the project team. This can be considered as a concrete expression and example of the CBCI policy on HIV/AIDS – “Commitment to Compassion and Care”.
In addition to the PACT project numerous Nuns’ congregations, numerous Religious Men’s congregations e.g. Order of St. Camillus, Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI), Catholic Nurses Guild of India (CNGI), Sister Doctors Forum of India (SDFI), St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, Caritas India, Diocesan Centers for Social Welfare, the CBCI-IGNOU Chair for various HIV/AIDS study programs are also contributing to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
On this World AIDS Day, I express my sincere gratitude to all our partner organizations, key stakeholders and other communities for all that they are doing for the society especially the PLHA and encourage them to continue to work towards ‘Getting to Zero’. May God bless you and all your initiatives!
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America. 29/11/2012
On World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the first cases of this tragic illness were reported, we join the global community once more in standing with the millions of people who live with HIV/AIDS worldwide. We also recommit to preventing the spread of this disease, fighting the stigma associated with infection, and ending this pandemic once and for all.
In 2010, my Administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, our Nation's first comprehensive plan to fight the domestic epidemic. The Strategy aims to reduce new infections, increase access to care, reduce health disparities, and achieve a more coordinated national response to HIV/AIDS here in the United States. To meet these goals, we are advancing HIV/AIDS education; connecting stakeholders throughout the public, private, and non-profit sectors; and investing in promising research that can improve clinical outcomes and reduce the risk of transmission. Moving forward, we must continue to focus on populations with the highest HIV disparities -- including gay men, and African American and Latino communities -- and scale up effective, evidence-based interventions to prevent and treat HIV. We are also implementing the Affordable Care Act, which has expanded access to HIV testing and will ensure that all Americans, including those living with HIV/AIDS, have access to health insurance beginning in 2014.
These actions are bringing us closer to an AIDS-free generation at home and abroad -- a goal that, while ambitious, is within sight. Through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we are on track to meet the HIV prevention and treatment targets I set last year. We are working with partners at home and abroad to reduce new infections in adults, help people with HIV/AIDS live longer, prevent mother-to-child transmission, and support the global effort to eliminate new infections in children by 2015. And thanks to bipartisan action to lift the entry ban on persons living with HIV, we were proud to welcome leaders from around the world to the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
Creating an AIDS-free generation is a shared responsibility. It requires commitment from partner countries, coupled with support from donors, civil society, people living with HIV, faith-based organizations, the private sector, foundations, and multilateral institutions. We stand at a tipping point in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and working together, we can realize our historic opportunity to bring that fight to an end.
Today, we reflect on the strides we have taken toward overcoming HIV/AIDS, honor those who have made our progress possible, and keep in our thoughts all those who have known the devastating consequences of this illness. The road toward an AIDS-free generation is long -- but as we mark this important observance, let us also remember that if we move forward every day with the same passion, persistence, and drive that has brought us this far, we can reach our goal. We can beat this disease. On World AIDS Day, in memory of those no longer with us and in solidarity with all who carry on the fight, let us pledge to make that vision a reality.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2012, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
Pastor Andrena Ingram. - World AIDS Day 2012
By Pastor Ingram
09 Nov 2012
Here we go again: World AIDS Day 2012, coming right up! Time to dig those ribbons out of your drawers and closets and jewelry boxes! Don’t have one? Not to worry, wherever you decide to celebrate WAD, I’m sure they’ll have some ribbons. Just make sure you save them this time…so this time, next year, you’ll be ready!
I’ve lived through 23 years of World AIDS Days! I was diagnosed that many years ago, and yes, I am still here. It took a few years to get comfortable with the diagnosis, a few years to get past the stigma I initially placed upon myself, a few years to get past the stigma placed upon me by others.
As you can see from the picture taken in Toronto, Canada in 2006 at the International World AIDS Conference, I began coming out, yelling and making noise at this event, where I confronted my own stigma, and found support in the 20 some odd thousand, other positive people at this event. It was monumental!
Are you still keeping the promise???
I am past the stigma, when it comes to my own personal HIV.
However, I am NOT past the stigma others are going through. I am NOT past the stigma which keeps people living in shame, secrecy and fear.
I made a promise at this conference that I would begin speaking out, and do everything I could to raise awareness about this disease, particularly when it comes to breaking down the walls of stigma.
I break down the walls of stigma, shame and silence. One face at a time. My face particularly ‘affects’ persons, because I am a religious leader.
I am an ordained Lutheran pastor, living openly, unashamedly and POSITIVELY with HIV. I am an activist in the HIV arena, and ‘God’s change agent’…putting my face in the mix, to humanize this disease, so that others who are living in fear, shame and secrecy, may come to know that you can live with this disease!
Many have traveled this road before us, many have ACTED up in the streets, have taken their fight to the lawns of the White House. Have DIED, fighting to the very end. It has been 30 years, and while major medicinal breakthroughs have been made…there is still much work to be done. Like a cure!
I am grateful for my life. I look good and most days I feel good. But you are looking at me from the outside. Inside, I don’t always feel that great. Fatigue takes its toll on me. I talk, and I talk. I share and I share. But there are a few things that still bother me:
The church bothers me. I am not talking about the churches that are doing what they need to do for their congregants, but for the community at large, especially for those who are NOT churched in the traditional manner.
I take issue with houses of God, who pass moral judgement on those living with HIV.
I take issue with pastors who do not know that one of their members has been living and died from complications due to ‘advanced HIV”, because the parishoner was ‘afraid’ to tell, for fear of being shunned.
I take issue with houses of God, who talk about repentence of sins in the midst of someone’s struggling to find their way back to the God who knows all, and forgives all.
I take issue with houses of God who wear rubber gloves to annoint the head of someone living with HIV.
I take issue with congregations who treat someone with HIV any differently than anyone else.
I take issue with churches who condemn the sexual orientation of another.
I take issue with a lot when it comes to those who are NOT living with this disease, sitting at the table, doing all the talking.
And here’s a new one: people in 12 step programs, talking about and judging and spreading rumors about folks with HIV! In the rooms! A space, where you are supposed to feel safe – *what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here* (one of the principal tenets) To say I am appalled is an understatement!
“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone” – John 8:7 (I know I can’t cast that stone. I am not without sin.)
And so, here we are 30 years later. Getting ready to go into another World AIDS Day. This one is themed “Getting to Zero”.
I pray the *faith leaders can get to zero, when it comes to how we are being treated. I pray the faith leaders can get to zero, when it comes to placing blame and shame. I pray the faith leaders can get to zero, when it comes to pontificating and throwing theology around.
We who are living with HIV and ‘advanced’ HIV, have our own HIV’ology’: We are tired of being nailed to the cross, we are tired of being ‘poked in the side’, we are tired of the crowd screaming at us….It’s time for our resurrection back into society as whole people.
And another thing: I’m tired of the ribbons. We see them every couple of months, depending upon the demographic we are praying for. The ribbons come out from wherever they have been put away the previous year, they are pinned on our lapels or robes, we attend an HIV Service, bow our heads and “feel for the HIV community”… when they get home, take their ribbons off … and put them away for next year.
Don’t get me wrong, World AIDS Day has it’s place, but dang! Isn’t 24 years of World AIDS Day Services long enough? Isn’t 30 years of this disease long enough?
With the advent of new medications, I feel the passion has gone out of the fight against HIV. People feel like it is a manageable disease these days, and it may well be so. I know I am managing. I am living. What I don’t know, and what ‘people’ who are not living with this disease do not know or understand, is the havoc the medications wreck on our insides. Medication is keeping us alive. But you know what? I am tired of taking pills…and I am tired of wearing ribbons…and I am tired of World AIDS Day!
So….what will you be doing ‘this’ World AIDS Day?
I am sure I’ll be speaking somewhere. Again.
…..Gotta find my ribbon. I know it’s here somewhere.
People Living with HIV Call for Action Now! 1/12/2012
This World AIDS Day, the Global Network of People Living with HIV supports the 'Call To Action' created in Marrakech, Morocco last week by leaders from the international community of people living with HIV.
Whilst acknowledging the major gains made in the HIV response, as highlighted in the UNAIDS World AIDS Day report, this 'Call To Action' asserts that we will no longer tolerate the inequities in access to quality HIV treatment and effective prevention, nor the blatant human rights violations that continue to be perpetrated against us, and that we must stand together to fight these injustices.
“This 'Call To Action' is a milestone for people living with HIV,” says Kevin Moody, International Coordinator of the Global Network of People living with HIV, “It highlights the commonalities across all of our communities, and marks a new era for advocacy for and by people living with HIV. It asks us to put aside our differences and unite over common goals as detailed in the forthcoming 'People Living with HIV Global Advocacy Agenda', to be released on Human Rights Day, December 10th 2012."
The Millennium Development Goal for HIV/AIDS is clear: to halt and begin to reverse the epidemic by 2015. Thanks to the determined efforts of governments and civil society, success is in sight. The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report for 2012 reveals significant progress in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the past two years. The number of people accessing life-saving treatment rose by 60 per cent and new infections have fallen by half in 25 countries – 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS-related deaths have dropped by a quarter since 2005. More
President of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly
I am greatly encouraged by the impressive results demonstrated by AIDS response. According to the most recent report by UNAIDS, the pace of progress accelerated significantly, with more people than ever accessing life-saving antiretroviral treatment, fewer new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, and narrowing AIDS funding gap. More
Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
To the millions who have come together with compassion and determination on this World AIDS Day, we say: “Your blood, sweat and tears are changing the world.” We have moved from despair to hope. Far fewer people are dying from AIDS. Read full statement | View video message
Chairperson of the African Union
The progress we are seeing today in the fight against AIDS is clearly showing that our vision for an HIV-free generation in Africa is possible. UNAIDS data shows that the number of new HIV infections has fallen globally by more than 20 per cent since 2001. New HIV infections are continuing to decline in most parts of the world. In our continent, HIV incidence has decreased in most countries. As more people are getting antiretroviral therapy, AIDS-related deaths have declined at a fast pace. We must recognize this achievement. More
Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission delivers a message marking World AIDS Day 2012. View video message
Première Dame d'Haïti
Depuis 30 ans que le SIDA existe, il a changé à tout jamais les relations humaines. Le 1er décembre ne sera jamais pour nous une date comme les autres. Elle nous rappelle l’impact de la maladie dans nos familles et dans nos communautés. Elle est aussi devenue la journée de l’espoir, la journée de l’engagement, la journée de la solidarité humaine. En savoir plus
Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP)
This World AIDS Day (1 December) we are observing unprecedented results in the prevention and treatment of HIV. Access to adequate and nutritious food for a person living with HIV to respond well to antiretroviral treatment (ART) is essential. As one of the eleven co-sponsors of UNAIDS, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has played a major role in providing food and nutrition support to affected populations, lending to the welcome slow-down in the HIV epidemic that has claimed far too many lives over the past few years. More
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
With the 2015 target date for reaching the Millennium Development Goals in sight, and with a new global development agenda under discussion, we must sustain the effort that has already accomplished so much for so many. Accelerating action to reduce inequality, promote human rights, and apply lessons learned to health and development more broadly remains vital. More
Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
There is much to celebrate this World AIDS Day with a 50 per cent decline in new HIV infections in 25 low- and middle-income countries since 2001, AIDS-related deaths declining globally and an acceleration over the last two years in the number of people accessing treatment. More
Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
UNODC stands ready to assist by providing countries with technical assistance, and the means to create a favourable political and legal environment for evidence-based prevention and treatment options. I appeal to countries and their leaders not to neglect their key populations such as female sex workers, men who have sex with men, prisoners and injecting drug users. If we fail, we will not be able to end HIV and AIDS. More
Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO)
Today the ILO reaffirms its commitment to using the workplace as a gateway to “Getting to zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths” in close collaboration with its constituencies: governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, UNAIDS,civil society, including organizations of people living with HIV, and all development partners. The central role of our social partners facilitated by the use of social dialogue should allow the workplace policies and programmes to contribute significantly towards Getting to zero. More
Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
On this World AIDS Day, we can be encouraged that our efforts are producing results. We must build on these to bring the disease under control, by scaling up HIV programmes and making the most of powerful new tools to prevent people from becoming infected and from dying from AIDS-related causes. More
UN Secretary General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean
Today I join the global community in recognizing the millions of persons living with HIV and those affected by this disease. The world rejoices at the tantalizing prospects of an AIDS Free Generation that was unimaginable a generation ago. At the same time, the recently released UNAIDS 2012 Report portrays relatively optimistic trends for the Caribbean. More
Myung-Bo Hong, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Today on World AIDS Day, I want to take a moment to share my thoughts on HIV and AIDS. Having just returned from a fact-finding mission to Thailand, I saw with my own eyes how HIV and AIDS negatively affect people and communities… This is not right and we should work together to change that….We must fight stigma and discrimination and we must each and every one show solidarity and leadership. I am convinced that Nations in Asia and the Pacific have the capacity to lead the world to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Michael Ballack, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Discipline and endurance pays off - in sport and in life - and I would like to pay my tribute to all those out there who day after day make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV. More
Annie Lennox, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
On the occasion of World AID Day 2012 , UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lennox has issued her annual SING AIDS advocacy film, which showcases her work as an AIDS activist around the globe. In the film Annie describes how far we have come in the response to AIDS, but pledges for continued support to stop the pandemic. More
James Chau – UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, China
We can talk about the science, we can talk about the political leadership and we can talk about investment frameworks. Each of these are critical in fighting AIDS. But, now more than ever, we need to focus on people-----and not just the 34 million people living with HIV, but the seven billion living next door to us. With love, compassion and kindness, we can take that first step to creating an AIDS-free generation for everyone. Together.
WACC Challenges Members and Partners for World AIDS Day 2012
WACC News Release
On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2012, the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) calls on its partners and networks to integrate interfaith approaches in interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
“Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths” is the theme until 2015. Anti-stigma interventions in communities where different faith traditions live side by side will increase their impact if they adopt approaches that recognize differences and leverage the strengths of an inclusive interfaith strategy.
WACC’s project partners provide many positive examples of interfaith cooperation in action. The Ecumenical Commission for Human Development (ECHD) in Pakistan brought together Christians and Muslims in Lahore in a collaborative anti-stigma initiative. It facilitated interfaith dialogue and convened an interfaith summit for youth and religious leaders.
Highlighting the importance of the interfaith approach, ECHD’s director Mr James Rehmat noted that, “Churches, mosques, temples and others work together, they can disseminate information about HIV to the broadest possible cross-section of the population, thus reducing the risk of leaving out isolated groups and eliminate inconsistency between the religions in the messages that are communicated.”
A second project underway in Lahore, Pakistan, organised by the AIDS Awareness Society is working with Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh religious leaders to reduce gaps in knowledge about HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The project is expected to reach almost 50,000 people living in the communities which these leaders serve.
In Ethiopia’s Fantalee district, the Rift Valley Initiative for Rural Advancement (RIRA) worked with Christian, Muslim and the influential Gada traditional leaders to increase understanding of stigma and discrimination in pastoralist communities. RIRA’s executive director Mr. Abdi Ahmed commented, “The Religious leaders are highly visible and have a strong impact on their respective constituents. They have helped to overcome the negative views about HIV and AIDS held by pastoralist men and herders in particular and society at large. Change is visible in their public conversation about HIV and AIDS.”
In Lagos, Nigeria, a multi-year project implemented with Hope for HIV/AIDS International (HFA) with funding from UKaid’s Department for International Development is reaching out to Christian, Muslim and traditional leaders to help overcome HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Currently in its second year of implementation, the project is providing invaluable lessons on the willingness of leaders from different faith traditions to engage positively with each other.
Mrs. Lolade Abioye, HFA project administrator, observes the lesson that, “Irrespective of religious leaning, both Christian and Muslim faith leaders recognize the oneness of God, and they also acknowledge the leaders of both faiths. In the training workshops, the imams and pastors voice respect for the beliefs of each other’s faith traditions.”
Today there is considerable evidence from around the world that communication and interfaith dialogue change attitudes when it comes to tackling stigma and discrimination. Genuine and inclusive communication can create greater understanding and relieve tension in contrast with actions that tend to isolate vulnerable groups or, indeed, to incite violence against them.
On World AIDS Day, WACC encourages its members, partners and networks to explore and seize opportunities to create spaces for interfaith collaboration with the aim of reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. The WACC project partners mentioned above were supported with funding from Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED), Germany, and Stichting Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
World AIDS Day 2012 - Rebecca vander Meulen
World AIDS Day 2012
Thuli was standing in front of us, telling us that she “should” have been dead—but that she was alive, thanks to anti-HIV antiretroviral medication. While others were crying tears of joy, I left the celebration banquet sobbing with anger and jealousy. I rejoiced in Thuli’s health, but I was angry that she would probably have already lost her life if she had been living in Mozambique instead of South Africa. The year was 2004, and antiretrovirals, or ARVs, were not yet widely available here. What was the prescription for most Mozambicans who were recently diagnosed with HIV? A healthy diet (not an easy task for the average subsistence farmer), treatment of opportunistic infections, and hope. Many people told me they’d rather die not knowing their status than find out they were living with HIV and “die early” from the associated despair and shame. Hope, while potentially a useful supplement to medication, seemed to me to be a sorry substitute for it.
One evening this October, a woman was admitted to the health center in Cobue, a small village in a remote corner of Mozambique. Because of the Anglican Diocese of Niassa’s comprehensive “Salt, Light, Health” community health project and many “Life Team” activists who work in the Cobue region, Cobue offers better health services than most communities its size.
I had been told that this woman was “not well.” The next morning, upon meeting her, these words proved to be a dramatic understatement. Infected ulcers and bed sores covered large areas of her body. These raw wounds left her unable to sit up or walk.
Cobue’s seasoned doctor, made woozy by these oozing sores, began removing dead tissue. A traditional midwife and the patient’s mother waved cloths to keep the flies at bay.
Her prognosis was poor. But her name? Esperança. The Portuguese word for “hope.” And for Esperança, hope proved to be stronger than the bacteria that fought for her life.
A team of dedicated people worked for hours each day to clean Esperança’s sores. Though I imagine the process was agonizingly painful, I never heard Esperança complain or grumble.
But behind Esperança’s wounds lurked an even more concerning problem: her immune system had been decimated by HIV. HIV works within the human body by attacking CD4 cells, which serve as commanders in the body’s defense system. Someone with a healthy immune system typically has a CD4 count of maybe 1000. A CD4 count of 350 or below indicates widespread damage to the immune system, and is a cause for significant concern. Esperança’s CD4 count was 12.
She had first been diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and had faithfully taken her ARV medications twice a day, as instructed. But the ARVs were no longer working.
In hushed discussions with the doctor, I compassionately hoped that Esperança could at least recover to the point of being able to sit up before she died.
How rational—or naïve—I was.
Three days into her wound care, with thousands of milligrams of antibiotics circulating through her body, Esperança greeted us with glee. Giddy, she explained that she had managed to leave her bed overnight to go to the bathroom outside. This was something she hadn’t done in weeks.
Esperança, already all too familiar with death (having lost her only child), now admits that death was on her mind during these days of hospitalization. But that morning, her joy of having been able to get out of bed overwhelmed her thoughts of death.
A team of efficient and dedicated people in high places got authorization from the national Ministry of Health for Esperança to begin a new regime of ARVs—a significantly more expensive set of “second line” medications that are only available to a small proportion of Mozambicans living with HIV.
Within days, Esperança’s increasing mobility and healing sores proved that these new ARVs were effectively halting HIV’s reproduction within her body. Esperança continued to improve, and was discharged from the hospital only a month after I’d dreamed that she’d be able to sit up before she died.
She arrived home to surprised celebration. Friends and neighbors told her they didn’t think she’d ever step foot in Mala again. The “Mother’s Union” women’s group surrounded her with prayers of thanksgiving.
Esperança had clung to the hope that too often eludes me. She had the courage to live beyond the facts, fully aware of the possibility of being humiliated in that hope.
William, a fisherman turned HIV technician extraordinaire, and one of Esperança’s primary caregivers, explains “most people didn’t think she’d live to seek the weekend.” “I praise God.”
Esperança has gained seven pounds in the past two weeks.
Today’s global World AIDS Day theme is “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” Properly managed, HIV is no longer a death sentence. We are still far from that reality here in Mozambique, where tens of thousands of people still die annually from AIDS-related causes. But Esperança’s life gives flesh to the vision of zero deaths.
Esperança wouldn’t be alive today without second line ARVs. She wouldn’t be alive if her family hadn’t received treatment and teaching about HIV from Salt, Light, Health and Life Team activists. She wouldn’t be alive if her mother, her primary care-giver over the past months, had given up. She wouldn’t be alive without the daily wound care she received from a team of informally trained lay people. She wouldn’t be alive without the thoughtful conversations between several different doctors, hundreds of miles apart. She wouldn’t be alive without the activists around the world who lobbied over the years for lower ARV prices, and the PEPFAR funds that made her medication available. But the obligatory prerequisite to all of that was her own deep hope. Esperança’s esperança.
Yes, medicines saved Esperança. But had she had any less esperança, she would never have made it to the phase where she could have received these medicines. Esperança lives today not only because of the miracle of newfangled medicines, but also because of good old fashioned hard work and her resilient human spirit.
I didn’t know Esperança before October. But I imagine that she must have practiced living out her name for years. Only a well-practiced hoper could have hoped like she did.
“Where have We Gone, Where are We Going?” An Update by Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo on 30 November 2012
An Update by Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV and AIDS Caritas Internationalis can be downloaded below
World AIDS Dayis commemorated worldwide on the 1st of December each year. It is one of the most recognised and longest running international health days.
WAD is a key opportunity to:
raise awareness and knowledge levels,
commemorate those who died because of AIDS related conditions,
demonstrate international solidarity, and
celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
The idea of World AIDS Day was suggested to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS) by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be 1 December, 1988.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became operational in 1996, and it took over the planning and promotion of World AIDS Day.
In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign became an independent organization.
Since 2008, each year's World AIDS Day theme is chosen by the World AIDS Campaign's Global Steering Committee after discussion with a wide selection with people, organizations and government agencies involved in the pandemic.
The theme from 2011-2015, will align with the UNAIDS strategy for this period: "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths".
The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" in 2011 signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.
Is it still relevant?
In some circle, there is talk of “AIDS fatigue” or a call to end "AIDS exceptionalism". But there is still more than 33 million people living with the virus, there is still more than 2.6 million new infections a year, still close to 2 million people dying a year.
In spite of exciting scientific advances HIV treatment, laws to protect people living with HIV and a much greater understanding of the virus and the epidemic, people do not know the facts or have the skills to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV.
World AIDS Day reminds all of us the HIV is not in recession, in fact, this is a key time in the international response. Christian Aid's Advocacy and Networks Officer Winnie Ssanya Sseruma said in October 2011: "This is a time when faith-based organizations should be stepping up their efforts in the response to HIV, not cutting back. This is a critical time in the HIV response."
What should I do on World AIDS Day?
Make sure you have accurate facts about HIV and know how to put this knowledge into action (there is plenty of information on this website).
Discuss HIV with your loved ones – family, children, friends and partners. Make sure they have the right knowledge and can protect themselves.
Think about your attitude – do you stigmatise people living with HIV? Do you think it is “their own fault”?
Show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.
World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to support and strengthen the work of CABSA and be part of ensuring that faith communities understand their calling and know how to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. Read more about ways in which you can support CABSA.
Congregations can invite congregants to become involved on a practical level, by making a personal commitment to any of the suggestions above, by supporting a local HIV project or an organisation like CABSA, etc
The 30.30.30 campaign of the Center For The Church And Global AIDS have practical suggestions for ways faith communities can become involved. Download the suggestions and remember
Over 30 million people are infected with HIV and AIDS around the world
We have been experiencing the global AIDS pandemic for 30 years, now moving into the 4th decade
Yet most churches and most people are unwilling to spend 30 minutes discussing the topic or to promote education, prevention, care, and treatment.
But what about after World AIDS Day?
Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to talk about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round. HIV organisations and individuals living with HIV need support throughout the year!
“Getting to Zero” is the theme selected by the World AIDS Campaign (WAC) to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day on 1st December. The new theme, that will be used until 2015, echoes the UNAIDS vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
The decision to choose "Getting to Zero" as the theme came after extensive consultations among people living with HIV, health activists and civil society organizations.
"The potential for creative, connected and meaningful campaigning is really exciting,” said World AIDS Campaign Africa Director, Linda Mafu. "Our organization will focus on Zero AIDS Related Deaths, but the choice is there for others to pick a different zero or all three. It's time to use our imaginations and let everyone know that Getting to Zero is a must,” she added.
Giving regions, countries and constituencies the latitude to focus on one or all of the Zeros that is most relevant to their context was central to the WAC’s decision, an approach fully supported by UNAIDS. “Getting to Zero is the overall agenda for responding to HIV in the next five years, but the priority may be zero discrimination in some parts of the world and zero AIDS related deaths in some other parts—it’s important to keep this connection with the local realities” said Djibril Diallo, Director of Global Outreach at UNAIDS.
This year’s World AIDS Day is anticipated to see renewed activism from the civil society as 1st December 2011 falls only 6 months before the International AIDS Conference taking place in Washington DC. This year also marks the 30th year since AIDS was first report. World AIDS Day will be a platform to pay tribute to early advocates of the response.
Observed worldwide on 1 December since 1998, World AIDS Day is the moment of the year where millions of people come together across the globe to commemorate people who lost their lives to HIV, applaud progress made in responding to the epidemic and recommit to ending the epidemic.
CABSA World AIDS Day Liturgies 2011
CABSA annually makes material available for church services focusing on Worls AIDS Day. The following English material can be downloaded below:
- Liturgy and sermon tips
- Powerpoint presentation for use with liturgy.
A Higher resolution PowerPoint is available on request.
A offering or monthly contribution helps CABSA to provide this and many other free services.
CABSA maak jaarliks materiaal beskikbaar vir gebruik in eredienste wat fokus op Wêreld VIGSdag en ander spesiale geleenthede.
Materiaal vir 2011 is gebaseer op die Leesroosterteks en ontwikkel in samewerking met die leraars van Fontainebleau Gemeenskapskerk.
Die volgende is hieronder afgelaai word:
- Liturgie en preekwenke vir Wêreld VIGSDag 2011.
- PowerPoint aanbieding vir gebruik met die liturgie. (Binnekort beskikbaar)
- Volledige preekriglyne met teks en kontekstuele agtergrond.
'n Hoër resolusie PowerPoint is op navraag beskikbaar.
'n Deurkollekte of gereelde maandelikse bydrae help CABSA om ons deurlopende dienste, soos hierdie, gratis te verskaf.
The global AIDS response gives us good reason to hope for a future free from the pandemic as long as efforts to care for those affected and to ensure universal access to quality treatment are sustained and improved. But AIDS remains a serious threat to life and there is no room for complacency.
This is the conviction that the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar, through the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), want to share on World AIDS Day 2011. We are backed in this conviction by the UNAIDS vision of Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths, and by the latest reflections of Pope Benedict XVI about Africa, "land of hope". We are also encouraged by countless examples, of Christians and other people of goodwill, who do all they can to care for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Latest statistics allow for cautious optimism, with a notable decline in new infections and the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa by 20% between 2009 and 2010. However, 68% of the global total of 34 million people with HIV live in this region and the number of new infections remains high.
AJAN echoes the calls of UNAIDS and Pope Benedict for investment in treatment. The proven therapeutic and preventive benefits of ART promote life, which it is our duty to defend. The recently issued apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict, Africae Munus, encourages research institutes to "discover solutions and provide everyone with access to treatments and medicines". Increasing evidence shows that ART not only prevents deaths and improves quality of life but also reduces new infections. Prevention has become ever more urgent as a new generation, born after the arrival of the pandemic, reaches adulthood.
Our resources against the disease are always strained but this is an area that needs constant vigilance and progress if we are to work for an HIV-free world. We often neglect to thank scientists who quietly work away at making better drugs to help people live with HIV/AIDS.
But ART alone is not enough; it needs to be part of a holistic approach that - as Pope Benedict advises - combines pharmaceutical solutions with ethical concerns, behaviour change and integral development. The Catholic Church has long been offering such a holistic response. AJAN makes its own the Pope's appeal to international agencies to help Church organizations. With its extensive coverage of healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, the Church has a critical role to play in the UNAIDS towards zero strategy.
Justice is an essential component in the AIDS response, envisaged by Pope Benedict "from the whole human family" and from Africa itself. Perhaps we should ask why Africa is bedeviled by this pandemic. We might look at the financial resources available in our countries to deal with the virus. A comparison of many national health and military budgets will quickly show where priorities lie. So let us try to speak to those who have some power to redistribute.
Fr Michael L. Lewis SJ
1 December 2011
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Video Message for World AIDS Day. 1/12/11
The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day in which he talks about the part sexual violence plays in the spread of HIV
The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day in which he talks about the part sexual violence plays in the spread of HIV, calling it ‘one of the most shameful facts of our day’.
Dr Williams recorded the video message during a recent visit to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo which he describes as having been at ‘the epicentre of a great deal of appalling violence in recent years.’ He talks specifically about the use sexual violence as a tool of war - something which is used to ‘humiliate and subdue others’ and the extent to which the people in the DRC have suffered from this particular type of brutality, which has become endemic in many communities.
In his message Dr Williams highlights the crucial role that the Church has played in supporting survivors of such abuse, and especially in combating the stigma that they so often face in their own communities as a result of this violence:
“Trauma is something which cannot be overcome overnight but when people feel they’ve been abandoned by families, by communities, because of the shame and stigma of HIV/AIDS, the church in this part of Congo has been there for them. For these people, who have been abused systematically, been raped, violated, abducted often at the youngest of ages – for these people, the church has been the family that mattered.”
Churches, and other faith communities, need to show leadership to end a culture of silence and fulfil their potential to help reverse the prevalence and devastating impact of sexual violence. In praising the vital work of the Anglican Church of Congo, the Archbishop expresses his hope that the campaign against sexual violence and associated stigma will continue both in the DRC as well as in other parts of the world:
“As we seek to confront the terrible scandal of sexual violence as one of the causes of HIV and AIDS, let’s hope and pray that communities like the churches here will continue to fight as hard as they can against the stigmatising and marginalising that so reduce human dignity.”
In marking World AIDS Day 2011, Dr Williams also raises his concern about current reports of a decline in available funding resources which will threaten the recent and remarkable progress achieved by the global AIDS response. He urges the international community to uphold its funding commitments to see this progress not only sustained but accelerated to halt and reverse the spread of AIDS.
[Office of Public Affairs] "World AIDS Day is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on God's call to lift up the dignity and value of each person."
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint letter for World AIDS Day 2011, Dec. 1.
The text of the letter follows:
World AIDS Day is December 1, 2011. This annual commemoration is an opportunity for us to remember the 30 million lives that have been lost to the deadly pandemic over the past three decades, to rededicate our energies in support of those 34 million living with HIV and AIDS today and to work toward building a future without AIDS.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on God's call to lift up the dignity and value of each person. We are called to confront this pandemic -- whose scale has no precedent in human history -- through prayer, by speaking out to eliminate stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV and AIDS, by caring for those afflicted by the virus in our own communities, by advocating for strong government support of life-saving programs, and by supporting the global effort to alleviate the global systems of poverty within which HIV and AIDS is so endemic.
We write together this year because the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have embarked upon a new age of full communion by sharing staff for international issues in our Washington, D.C., advocacy offices, acknowledging the common needs of our global church bodies
Both of our churches have been living with AIDS for more than 30 years. Together we are part of a global family of 150 million Anglicans and Lutherans, most living in developing countries, for whom the virus is an ever-present daily reality. The struggle against HIV and AIDS is our own struggle as churches and, as the pandemic continues into its fourth decade, the urgency in our work is born out of the intimacy with which we know it.
Consider what 30 years have meant to our global family in Christ:
-Thirty million people -- parents, children, spouses, partners, siblings -- have died early and unnecessary deaths.
-An entire generation of children in sub-Saharan Africa has been orphaned because of the virus; many of these children have themselves been infected by mother-to-child transmission, a transmission which is preventable with basic medical attention.
-In an unjust world with more wealth than ever before, global poverty has contributed to more people dying each day because they are too poor to survive and receive basic assistance from the symptoms of global poverty -- gender-based violence, discrimination, hunger and lack of access to medical treatment.
Our churches continue to address the virus and the systems of poverty it permeates. ELCA programs in Tanzania teach students marketable skills alongside HIV and AIDS awareness education. Episcopal-supported programs in Uganda care for AIDS patients while paying school fees for AIDS-orphaned children.
Episcopalians and Lutherans are invested in prevention, treatment, care and support, and alleviating stigma for all living with HIV and AIDS.
-The National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC) provides innovative resources and news updates to congregations ministering to those affected by HIV and AIDS.
-The comprehensive ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS highlights a commitment to prevention, treatment, alleviating stigma, and providing care and support for all. It guides and supports congregational responses to our domestic communities and our global companions in need.
Our global community has made significant advancements in tackling this pandemic. Investments in medicine and prevention education have halted transmission in communities around the world. Infection rates continue to decline. The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment is increasing -- by a factor of 13, just from 2004 to 2009 -- allowing tens of millions of HIV-positive people to lead healthy lives. Hundreds of thousands of babies are prevented from being born with HIV and a comparable number orphaned from the virus receive food, education and assistance from churches and aid workers.
ELCA members and Episcopalians are key leaders in helping to stop the shunning and shaming of those living with HIV, engaging in public acts of repentance for past discrimination, distributing medicines and prevention techniques affordably to all parts of the world, and providing care and support to those living with HIV and AIDS in our own communities.
Today, we must increase these efforts. We stand at the threshold of reaching the goal of achieving an "AIDS-free generation" recently set by Secretary of State Clinton. But whether we are able to reach this milestone will depend on nothing less, and nothing more, than whether our nations and communities are willing to commit the resources and energies to make the next 30 years different from the past 30.
Unfortunately, today we face the danger that our dream of an AIDS-free generation will remain just that -- a dream. U.S. funding for these life-saving global health programs continues to be targeted for disproportionate cuts. Even fractional cuts to these accounts -- which already represent far less than 1 percent of our federal budget -- would reverse these efforts: Global infection rates would increase and AIDS would claim millions more lives than it does even today.
Through our shared witness in Washington, our churches are working to ensure that our government allocates the highest funding levels possible to address HIV and AIDS, including full funding for the president's Global Health Initiative. The voice of every Episcopalian and every ELCA member is vital to this work, so we urge you to join our churches' advocacy efforts by becoming members of the Episcopal Public Policy Network or the ELCA e-Advocacy Network.
As Christians, we have just embarked upon the season of Advent, in which we prepare our hearts and minds to receive the One who comes that we "may have life, and have it abundantly." In this season, on this World AIDS Day, may the healing offered by our Incarnate, Crucified, and Resurrected Lord inspire us to cross from 30 years of death and loss to a future of abundant life for all.
In God's grace and healing,
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Getting to Zero on HIV-AIDS. 1/12/11
The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers has issued an appeal for universal access to life saving therapies for all those suffering from from AIDS
The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers has issued an appeal for universal access to life saving therapies for all those suffering from from AIDS. Thursday's statement also calls for an end to stigmatisation and greater moral, spiritual and material support for all those affected by the HIV virus.
Since 1988, December 1st has been observed each year as World AIDS day, highlighting the need to keep up the fight against this global pandemic. Though much progress has been made over the past two decades in protection against the HIV virus and care for people and communities affected by it, there are still over 33 million people around the world living with the virus today. While ARV drugs have saved millions of young lives, there are still too many places where stigma, fear, poverty or discrimination are preventing people from coming forward for vital testing, support and treatment. In many countries the Churches and other faith communities are in the front line in providing such care and support, especially in the most isolated communities.
Caritas Internationalis special advisor on HIV-AIDS, Fr Bob Vitillo, spoke with Philippa Hitchen about the theme for this year's observance - 'Getting to Zero'
Read the full statement of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers
on the Occasion of the World AIDS Day 2011
The World AIDS Day of 2011 must constitute a new opportunity to promote universal access to therapies for those who are infected, the prevention of transmission from mother child, and education in lifestyles that involve, as well, an approach that is truly correct and responsible as regards sexuality. In addition, this is a privileged moment to relaunch the fight against social prejudice and to reaffirm the need for moral, spiritual and – as far as this is possible – material proximity to those who have contracted the infection and to their family relatives.
This Pontifical Council has for some time dedicated itself to this proximity; in particular it did this on the occasion of the conference of last May which explored the subject ‘The Centrality of Care for the Person in the Prevention and Treatment of Illnesses Caused by HIV-AIDS’. During those two days of analysis, indeed, emphasis was placed, amongst other things, on how much one can, and one must, do against this pandemic and to help those nations that are most afflicted by it, which are in large part to be found in sub-Saharan Africa.Although the international community began to work against this infection over twenty years ago, unfortunately it is estimated that 1,800,000 people still die every year because of HIV. These are people who could lead normal lives if they only had access to suitable pharmacological therapies, those known as antiretroviral therapies.
Deaths are thus witnessed that are no longer justifiable, just as the pain of the relatives of the people involved, the impoverishment of their family units, the increase in their marginalisation, and the malaise of children who have become orphans, often at a very early age, can no longer be justified. By now the transmission of the infection from mothers to their children, who often become its victims even before they begin to see the outlines of the world that surrounds them, equally, cannot be justified.Although the extension of these therapies to all peoples and to all the parts of a population is something that cannot but be engaged in, of fundamental importance, on the other hand, remains the formation, the education, of everyone, and in particular the new generations, in a sexuality based upon ‘an anthropology anchored in natural law and illuminated by the Word of God’. The Church and her Magisterium ask for a lifestyle that privileges abstinence, conjugal faithfulness and the rejection of sexual promiscuity, because, as the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus emphasised, all of this forms a part of the question of the ‘integral development’ to which people and communities have a right.
In launching this new appeal for commitment and solidarity in favour of all the (both direct and indirect) victims of HIV/AIDS, we would like to thank, in union of spirit with the Holy Father, all those who have striven, often for very many years, to help them. We are referring here to institutions, agencies and volunteers who ‘work in the sector of health care and especially of AIDS’ and who engage in ‘wonderful and important work’, and who, without doubt, deserve the operational support, and support without ideological ties, of international organisations and benefactors.Lastly, we wish to express our proximity to people afflicted by HIV/AIDS, to those who are near to them, and to all those health-care workers who, being exposed to the risk of infection as well, provide all possible care to them, respecting their personalities and their dignity.
+ Zygmunt ZimowskiPresident of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers
New Faith-Based & Secular Resources World AIDS Day 2011
Compiled by Christian Connections for International Health
For World AIDS Day, December 1, the church and faith-based organizations are rich resources to reach people everywhere with messages of health, healing and hope. CCIH has compiled for your use a list of church bulletin inserts, sermon guides, PowerPoints, liturgies, hymns and more produced by some of our members and partners.
To view these resources, click here (PDF, 99.83 KB, 3pg)
Start your Advent Reflections Today. 1/12/11
On World AIDS Day 2011, we invite you to begin following the EAA's Live the Promise Advent Devotional Calendar
Written by a diverse cross-section of Christians from around the globe, you will be led in daily Biblical reflection and prayer on issues related to HIV and AIDS up until 6 January. By exploring the hope and expectation of advent amidst the poverty, violence and injustice of the world, the calendar aims to stir people of faith to reflect upon and re-commit to living out God's promise that all might have abundant life.
In today's reflection, Rev. Canon Gideon B. Byamugisha, Goodwill Ambassador on HIV and AIDS for Christian Aid, UK, considers what it is to have an unwavering hope for peace. Tomorrow, the Rt. Rev. Dr Antje Jackelén, Bishop of the Diocese of Lund in the Church of Sweden, challenges us to have an outlook beyond our own selves. And on Saturday, Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York (USA), reminds us that Jesus demonstrated how we can love unconditionally.
How to get your devotionals
Click here to view today's reflection. You can then follow the calendar via this link each day or read the daily devotions on Twitter.
Alternatively, you can download a PDF version of the calendar by clicking on the link in the footer of the advent calendar website.
Trócaire's 'HIV Free' Campaign. 28/11/11
This week Trócaire is launching the 'HIV Free' campaign. This is a snap campaign that will run from now, through World Aids Day on December 1st, and up until December 10t
The campaign will have an online focus with an underlying advocacy ask. The face of the campaign are amazing and inspiring stories of children who are born HIV Free, even though their mothers are living with HIV. The Campaigns team have worked closely with the HIV team and the Communications team to enable these stories to be told through our website, in the form of blogs. The HIV team received a fantastic response from the field in getting these stories, the result of which will take the form of these inspiring blogs and an upcoming flickr gallery. Watch the space....
Each blog will have a link to our e-action where you can go online and send a message to the minister and insist that HIV does not fall off the global agenda, by calling for all children to be born HIV free.
We will be sending an email to a list of our campaigners on December 1st, but our strategy for the next week is to have the e-action on our website and to look to spread the message through social media (Facebook and Twitter) and through our blogs.
This is where you come in !
Now is your chance to get onboard and take action by sending a message to the minister.
You can go online and take the action NOW, by clicking here
Or, if you have a few minutes and would like your day to start with a spark from the inspiring work that Trócaire is doing in the field, then read the HIV Free blog, and then take action from the link at the end of the blog.
Ugandan Cleric Urges Churches to Push Governments on AIDS. 30/11/11
African churches need to urge governments to do more to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, according to a prominent Ugandan Anglican cleric
Nairobi, Kenya --African churches need to urge governments to do more to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, according to a prominent Ugandan Anglican cleric who was the first religious leader on the continent to declare publicly his HIV-positive status.
"The church is doing something, but if it were enough the pandemic would have gone away. The church has not challenged the governments to put money where the problem is," Canon Gideon Byamugisha, 59, said in an interview with ENInews in Nairobi, where he spoke from 22 to 24 November on HIV/AIDS prevention.
In a 2001 statement called the Abuja Declaration, African governments pledged to allocate at least 15 per cent of their annual budgets to healthcare as part of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ten years on, most have not met the commitment, although average health expenditures in all 52 African countries increased to 9.0 per cent in 2007 from 8.8 per cent in 2001, according to a 2010 report by The Global Fund.
Byamugisha said governments should allocate resources to end stigma, preventable AIDS deaths and related illnesses. "We [churches] have not asked those campaigning for the presidency to show their manifestos on how they propose to engage the disease," said Byamugisha who co-founded the African Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+) in 2002.
"We have not seen archbishops saying, 'Mr. President, we want to see a government budget that allocates money on promoting safe practices,'" he added.
With no single preventive approach for the epidemic, Byamugisha recently began advocating against the shame and discrimination that often affect those with HIV/AIDS and for increased testing. "They get married, and they produce children as if everything is normal. That's the first place to start, if you want to reach zero infection. We must put money in fighting stigma so that people get tested," he said.
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December 1st is World AIDS Day – and this year international organizations are highlighting that prejudice against people living with HIV still poses a major obstacle in the fight against the epidemic, especially for women and children.
In response, Caritas Internationalis is urging governments and pharmaceutical companies to invest more in HIV prevention and care for children and reducing mother-to-child transmission.
Caritas launched the “HAART for Children” campaign in 2009, which says cheaper and more sophisticated HIV and TB testing tools and “child-friendly” medicines are required in poor countries.
“While we’ve made a great deal of progress in getting more medicines available for adults living with HIV – and therefore helping them to live longer – there still are many children who do not have access to the medicines,” says Msgr Robert Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis.
“Also we need many more medicines developed for use with children because the disease has a different kind of progression in children than it does for adults.”
Although medicines are available at low-cost in many parts of the world, mothers often avoid testing because they fear stigma and discrimination.
Msgr Vitillo is shocked to see that prejudice is still widespread.
“It’s very important that Caritas and other Catholic organizations that are responding to HIV to help local communities understand the situation of HIV and especially to encourage our parishes and our church communities not to reject people with HIV, but rather to welcome them, care for them and to make sure they’re getting medical treatment.”
Listen to Msgr Robert Vitillo’s full interview with Kelsea Brennan-Wessels:
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/11
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches 1 December 2011
World AIDS Day this year is about “Getting to Zero”, “Zero New HIV Infections‟, “Zero Discrimination” and “Zero AIDS Related-Deaths”. Backed by the United Nations the “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and builds on last year’s successful World AIDS Day “Light for Rights” initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations. With millions of people already dead, and millions of others either living with, or personally affected by HIV and AIDS; the epidemic constitutes one of the most critical problems for our time. Religious institutions in general, and churches in particular, have very important roles to play in working towards containing the spread of the disease from one person to another; in mobilising care and treatment for those already infected and in mitigating the effects of the disease on the families, communities and the nations that have been affected.
World AIDS Day is a special event for churches. By commemorating this day through worship, prayers, praise, word and testimony; individual Christians and whole congregations are helped to:
- Consolidate the “caring church” concept within their activities and plans.
- Break down barriers of prejudice, fear, stigma, and complacency which still hinder our open discussion about and practical action against the disease - AIDS.
- Acquire more spiritual and social strength, and resources to work against the disease and its determinant factors.
- The practice of listening to God’s word and the discipline of prayer have always been very important dimensions of our spirituality, but they are even more imperative today given the increased burden of diseases, famine and conflicts in our families, communities and amongst our nations. World AIDS Day gives us both the opportunity and responsibility to ask for, and find God’s mercy, grace and help in this critical time of need.
The theme for this year's World AIDS Day is “Getting to Zero.” Set by the World AIDS Campaign and backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.
The global response to HIV is at a pivotal moment. Great progress has been achieved, yet only one-third of people in need of treatment for HIV are receiving it and new infections continue to outpace the number of new people beginning treatment. World AIDS Day is thus a timely opportunity for people of faith to raise awareness, reflect on the current realities of the HIV pandemic, and pray for a continued response.
What Can You Do?
A variety of resources are available for congregations and faith communities to use and adapt for local World AIDS Day prayer services and events:
-A World AIDS Day liturgy, developed by ecumenical partners in Germany, focuses on the theme of “Zero Discrimination”. The liturgy contains scripture readings, prayers and skits that may be adapted to your local context. This resource is available in English and German here.
-Liturgies and worship resources from past World AIDS Days are also available here.
-The Balm in Gilead has developed a number of resources around the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, observed in the United States in March each year. These resources include a guide on how to develop a sermon around HIV and AIDS and an online worship book containing liturgy, prayers and hymns that may be used in World AIDS Day services. Both resources may be downloaded here.
-The Christian AIDS Bureau of Southern Africa (CABSA) and the CARIS programme in South Africa highlight resources focusing on the Christian response to HIV at their website. These include Bible messages, prayers, poems, stories and liturgies.
-Congregations and faith communities may also consider inviting a person living openly with HIV to be a guest speaker at a World AIDS Day event.
-A logo, and other graphics material for World AIDS Day are available through the World AIDS Campaign.
Share what you are doing for World AIDS Day, including photos and worship resources you have developed, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. By sending your events and materials, we assume you grant EAA the right to post the materials on its website and use in other campaign and worship resources.
Continue the Reflection into Advent
The online EAA’s Live the Promise Advent Devotional Calendar, first shared in 2010 in English at will also be available from December 1 this year in Spanish and French. Written by a diverse cross-section of Christians from around the globe, reflections on current HIV issues will lead readers in daily Biblical reflection and prayer. More information on how to receive daily devotions by email will come closer to World AIDS Day.
Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign. 1/12/11
From the National Council of Churches in India
Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation
World AIDS Day Campaign (1st December 2011)
Theme: Getting To Zero
Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign
World AIDS Day is commemorated on 1st December every year all over the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
UNAIDS took the lead on World AIDS Day campaigning from its observance until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organizations and government agencies involved in the AIDS responses. Themes run for one or two years and are not just specific to World AIDS Day. Campaigning slogans such as ‘Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’ have been used year round to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments. The 2011 theme is ‘Getting to Zero’.
To underscore the importance of human rights in the response to AIDS, UN Secretary-General has reported to the UN General Assembly that reduced access to essential HIV information, prevention tools, treatments, and services is occurring in many countries as a result of laws and policies that are inconsistent with their commitments to human rights. He stressed that where human rights are promoted to protect people living with HIV and members of other vulnerable groups, there are fewer infections, and less demand for antiretroviral treatment in addition to fewer deaths.
The XXVI Quadrennial Assembly of the NCCI in 2008 adopted the HIV and AIDS Policy Guidelines for the Indian Churches which were developed by the Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation (CJPC) of the National Council of Churches in India. In the process of implementing the Policy Guidelines through different ministries, the Commission worked with Churches, Theological Fraternities, Educational and Development Institutions. The Policy aims to address the issues related to Stigma, Discrimination, Sex and Sexuality and Care and Support. As part of mainstreaming and implementing the policy guidelines the CJPC annually initiates the Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign, thereby urging the Church to respond compassionately and responsibly to issues related to HIV and AIDS.
Light a Lamp - Getting to Zero:
This year’s Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights campaign is focused on the theme “Getting to Zero.” All of us should be committed to Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.
Backed by the United Nations the “Getting to Zero” campaign would run until
2015 and builds on last year’s NCCI’s successful World AIDS Day campaign “Light for Rights”.
The World AIDS Campaign focus on “Zero AIDS Related Deaths” signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. It’s a global campaign that spotlights how our fundamental right to health is intrinsically and inextricably linked to other basic rights. Crucial too is access to affordable life saving quality medicines free from the crippling effects of excessive profit taking.
The Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights World AIDS Campaign would aim at spotlighting a range of “Getting to Zero” initiatives. “It’s going to be the ministerial decision of the Churches and Ecumenical Organizations. It’s time to use our Christian Commitment and let everyone know Getting to Zero is a must.”
Objectives for India Campaign:
-Draw the National Ecumenical Movement’s attention to the denial of the rights of people living with HIV and vulnerable populations.
-Mobilize support for the protection of the rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in order that they may achieve public access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and to combat stigma and discrimination and misrepresentation of sexuality which is a gift of God.
Advent and People Living with HIV/AIDS
Advent is an special season in Christian ecclesial faith and tradition, marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing for deliverance and for justice. Let us make this Advent season a meaningful reflection on the Rights of the People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWAs) by lighting a lamp as a symbol of our pledge for and commitment to the Rights of PLWAs. We invite the local congregations, neighborhood and people around the world to join in this pledging event.
Advent is a season of hope and expectation within the context of poverty, violence, stigma, discrimination, exclusion and injustice in the world. The joy of Advent contrasts sharply with the suffering of people living with and affected by HIV, and the deaths of over 27 million people due to AIDS related illnesses. Over these decades we have learned that everyone is affected by AIDS, and our calling as Christians demands leadership in demonstrating love, compassion, solidarity and practical care and support to all in need. Advent is also a time of real hope of light. Comprehensive prevention approaches are known. The inclusion of people living with HIV in all forma and levels of ministry would help us to make our words and actions more caring and effective.
The messianic hope expressed in Christian faith at Christmas time goes hand in hand with the hope that during the course of time concerted efforts by all levels of society will bring to all rightful access to treatment, care, and prevention. The campaigns for “Zero New HIV Infections” and “Zero Discrimination” are equally important as our advent celebrations. May every Advent celebration, from small congregation to nationwide events, highlight the significance of converting darkness to light and the getting to zero of the HIV pandemic. May the advent celebration be integrated with the mission agenda of the Church towards “Getting to Zero”. So, let us make the advent meaningful by Lighting a Lamp – Pledge for Rights.
The Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign of the National Council of Churches in India and wider civil society calls on all leaders – and all of us – to be accountable. May our Light a Lamp for Rights Pledge fulfill the hope of life and light for millions of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in India and around the world.
Churches are free to observe the Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign in the way they think most appropriate. Our concern is that the focus should be on human rights. May this world wide celebration find meaningful expression in every local situation. A few suggestions are given below:
For Churches on the 27th Dec. 2011 (Advent Sunday)
-Symbolically let us light our Church buildings.
-During the worship you may distribute Red Ribbons and encourage the members to share them with their fellow worshippers. The members may also light a lamp as a symbol of pledge and commitment at the altar.
-If possible invite a PLWA to share his/her experiences as a testimony.
-Some special prayers and a sermon could also be focused on the theme.
We invite you to think creatively and make your worship meaningful!
For Organizations and Institutions on the 1st Dec. 2011
-Create a virtual Light a Lamp - Pledge for Rights Campaign and make it known to many through your website, face book, twitter and other networks. Bill boards or Banners highlighting some Light for Rights icon may be placed in front of your Church / Institution.
-Light a lamp at the entrance of the institution.
-Organize a Red Ribbon flag hoisting at your institution along with a short programme with speeches, exhibitions and skits that could include local figures and PLWAs.
-Organize a lamp vigil along with act of pledge in your locality or campus.
For Individuals and Communities on the 1st Dec. 2011
-Invite all the members of your congregations and communities and motivate them to Light a Lamp in every house at 7.00 p.m.
-A one minute pledge and prayer for our commitment to Light a Lamp for Rights campaign at 7.00 p. m. could be organized.
-Organize one or more Cottage Prayer Meetings / Community Gatherings in your congregation / communities and neighborhood with Lighting Lamp events.
You are most welcome to adopt any other creative, practical and impact making event involving Light a Lamp for Rights.
The Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary
The Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary, Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation
The. Rt. Rev. Dr. Tharanath S Sagar,
National Council of Churches in India,
Post Box 205, Civil Lines, NAGPUR - 440 001, Maharashtra.
The first resources we heard about this year is that of our partner organisation, the Ecumenical Advocay Alliance in their Action Alert published on 22/10/2010:
World AIDS Day 2010: Pray for renewed commitment to HIV response
2010 is the year by which world governments promised to provide Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support to all who needed it. As the year draws to a close, we know that this goal will not be achieved despite recent laudable progress in increasing access to treatment. Thus, World AIDS Day 2010 provides a timely opportunity to reflect upon the reality of the HIV pandemic today and to pray for renewed passion, wisdom and action to uphold the human dignity and rights of all people living or at risk of being infected with HIV.
What Can You Do?
A worship service - newly developed by the EAA for use on or around 1 December 2010 - offers information, insights and meditation on the importance of linking efforts to fight hunger with those to comprehensively address HIV. It explores that idea that medicines alone are not enough; a comprehensive and sustainable response to HIV must also involve the protection of human dignity and rights, including the right to food. Hold this service in your church, school or organization in order to pray and stand in solidarity with people of faith and members of wider civil society around the world.
The liturgy is available for download in English below. Spanish, French and German versions will be available soon. Please feel free to adapt the service according to your local context. The service can be used on its own or as part of an event supporting the Light for Rights campaign promoted by the World AIDS Campaign.
Advance Notice: Continue the reflection into Advent
On World AIDS Day, the EAA will launch its new online Advent Calendar on HIV. Written by a diverse cross-section of Christians from around the globe, reflections on current HIV issues will lead readers in daily Biblical reflection and prayer. Access the calendar online starting 1 December or email email@example.com to receive daily email updates.
For past Action Alerts and Bulletins from the HIV and AIDS Campaign, see here.
Message from the President and the General Secretary of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) on the Occasion of the World AIDS Day. 1/12/10
Communication rights are crucial to the World AIDS Campaign
1 December 2010
On World AIDS Day 2010 we express gratitude to the members and partners of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) for their efforts to advance communication rights that help prevent the stigmatisation of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Significant progress in achieving universal access to HIV treatment, care, prevention and support in some countries is reported in Towards universal access published in September 2010 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Many agree that even greater progress is possible if universal access to care and prevention are understood as a fundamental human right. According to the World AIDS Campaign, “linking universal access to human rights helps bring the HIV diagnosis and treatment issues into existing fora and before world leaders who are already committed to pursuing a human rights agenda.” A rights-based approach “gives more credence to the international agreements related to human rights and their precedence in international law.”
In its own work, WACC has found that communication rights are essential to promoting universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, care, prevention and support. Communication rights empower people living with and affected by the virus to express their needs, to make their voices heard, and to take charge of their own lives.
As an example we highlight WACC partner Fondation Solidarité Familiale in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which embarked on a campaign to publicize national law 08/011, enacted on 14 July 2008 and which upholds the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS with the aim of combating all forms of stigma and discrimination.
Another partner, Groupe Chrétien contre le Sida in Togo, is placing the spotlight on a little known national law enacted to protect people living with HIV and AIDS against stigma and discrimination.
A third partner, the Christian Council of Ghana, is contributing to efforts to increase knowledge in communities in the Greater Accra Region about the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS. New knowledge on the right to a life free of discrimination aided Regina, a project beneficiary, to successfully challenge a landlord’s threat to evict her from a rental home because of her seropositive status. Information on the legal supports in place made it possible for Regina to stay until the end of her tenancy agreement.
Creating awareness about such laws is a first step towards providing people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their lives. Such decisions bear directly on their possibilities to access treatment, care, prevention and support.
Let us together find more intentional approaches to advance communication rights that challenge stigmatisation and discrimination and save lives. The World AIDS Campaign needs communication rights.
Dennis Smith DD (hon)
The Rev Karin Achtelstetter
WACC General Secretary
Address by Deputy President Kgalame Motlanthe during the World Aids Day, Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga. 1/12/10
This year we are focusing on the collective: “we are responsible”.
Issued by: The Presidency
1 Dec 2010
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
The Premier of Mpumalanga;
Members of the Executive Council;
Mayors and councillors;
Ladies and gentlemen:
We are gathered here in Mkhondo to commemorate World AIDS Day.
This time last year, we joined the international community in commemorating the World AIDS Day under the theme: “I am responsible”.
This year we are focusing on the collective: “we are responsible”.
It means that friends, colleagues and families should talk about HIV in their workplaces, homes and communities and take appropriate action to care for those infected and affected.
This will assist us to address stigma and discrimination and to create a society that brings our constitution to life. It will help usher in a society where respect and equality are a norm and a way of life.
In order to facilitate these actions we have begun a series of community dialogues which aim to engage people in their communities to better understand their needs and challenges around HIV and AIDS.
These targets focus on preventing new infections and providing care and support to the overwhelming majority of those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Last year on World AIDS Day President Jacob Zuma made important announcements about the broadening of our HIV and AIDS programme. He stated that:
-All HIV positive pregnant women will be initiated on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at CD4 count of 350 and less;
-All infants that are HIV positive will be started on ARV treatment regardless of CD4 count;
-All HIV and tuberculosis (TB) co-infected patients will be started on ARV treatment at CD4 count of 350 and less;
-TB and HIV will be treated in the same health facility;
-Pregnant women who are HIV positive will be initiated on treatment regardless of CD4 count.
To achieve the above we have expanded access by accrediting more public institutions to provide antiretroviral treatment including primary health care facilities.
This required us to train and authorise more nurses to administer ARV treatment. As a result, more than 3 126 nurses have to date been trained and are now initiating patients on treatment.
More than 200 000 new patients have been initiated on ARVs since April this year, bringing a total number of up to a million people on ARVs.
Pregnant women who are HIV positive are now being initiated on treatment at CD4 count of 350 and less. Between April and September 20 000 pregnant women were initiated on ARV treatment compared to 15 000 during the same period last year – this represents a 28% increase in 2010 compared to 2009. This will help reduce the number of babies born with HIV.
We must therefore encourage pregnant women in our communities to seek care early during pregnancy, so that they and their children can avail themselves of the programmes that government is providing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is very important to emphasise that even as we continue to make headway with our treatment programme, prevention remains the mainstay of our response to the dual epidemics of HIV and TB.
I would like to emphasise this point once more: prevention, prevention, prevention!
I would like to encourage all of us to contribute to this important aspect of our arsenal in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This is a message our young people must embrace in their daily lives.
As a country, we have a comprehensive package of prevention interventions already in place. In addition, we are expanding the:
·Early detection and treatment of sexually transmitted infections;
·Procurement and distribution of male and female condoms through medical and non-medical sites. In this regard we have greatly increased the number of both male and female condoms that are being distributed.
Evidence from our research institutions indicates that young people are now responding positively to safer sex messages which led to a decline in new HIV infection among young people in our country;
· Safe blood transfusion is also an important aspect of our interventions. I am proud to say that our blood transfusion services rate among the safest in the world. This is due to the fact that the South African Blood Transfusion Service has installed state of the art technology through which all donated blood can be screened to ensure safety and adherence to appropriate standards.
Included in our prevention strategies is the provision of medical male circumcision. Again, this is based on evidence from research conducted here in South Africa which shows that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by as much as 60%.
I would like to thank the traditional leaders for supporting this initiative.
Consequently I am able to emphasise that through expanding the male circumcision programme we can reduce the rate of new HIV infections in this province. With the strong and bold leadership of the Premier, the MEC and all our critical leadership, this proven and evidence based intervention can be a means to demonstrate our will and determination to reduce new HIV infections in Mpumalanga.
In April this year, President Zuma launched a national HIV counselling and testing campaign. The objective of the campaign is to promote HIV counselling and testing, to urge all of us to know our HIV status and be screened for TB.
Our target is to test 15 million people by June 2011. Knowing your HIV status should enable you to change your behaviour accordingly. The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign enables anyone in South Africa to lead us all towards an AIDS free generation by knowing their own status and taking responsibility for their behaviour.
This is the largest testing campaign ever undertaken. I am pleased to report to the nation that at close of business yesterday, 5.5 million people received counselling for HIV. Of this number, more than 4.68 million people took an HIV test, and of these over 800 000 tested positive for HIV.
We also screened some of those who were tested for TB, a total of about 2 and a half million people were screened for TB, whilst 412 thousand were referred for further diagnostic tests for TB.
How does this compare to our HIV testing rate without the campaign? It is an improvement of over 500% compared with our 2009 testing rate. The campaign also focuses on screening for a range of other health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
This is due to the fact that South Africa carries a high burden of HIV and TB with a co-infection rate is now 73%, which means that 73% of people who have HIV are also infected with TB. This demands of us to take very bold and robust steps to address these two diseases with resolve and determination.
All our public health facilities will provide prophylaxis to prevent TB in those with HIV infections. TB is the major cause of death among people who are HIV positive. These deaths are preventable and we can reduce this mortality by ensuring that appropriate prophylaxis is provided to those who need it.
Testing for HIV is not just for its own sake. Knowing ones’ status is the most important entry point for treatment, care and support.
Knowing one’s status empowers one to consider ways to reduce the risk of infecting others. More importantly, knowing your status empowers us to lead a healthy lifestyle.
At a national level, this knowledge will enable government to plan better and to allocate resources in a more strategic manner.
While we must congratulate all those who have already come forward to be tested, I would like to challenge those who do not know their HIV status to take responsibility, to be tested.
It is encouraging that so many partners, civil servants, business, labour and civil society are working tirelessly to make sure that HIV counselling and testing services are widely available.
However, as we acknowledged at a recent South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) meeting, more can and must be done by all sectors to meet the targets that we have set.
For 2011 we are already preparing strategies to intensify our campaign. Some of these include the launch and implementation of the testing campaign targeting people at high risk of contracting the HI virus, including learners, students and farm labourers.
In this connection we will intensify the partnership with traditional leaders, churches, student organisations, non-governmental organisations and all other formations, believing that working together we can do more. Every sector of society must find a role in this regard.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Guided by the AIDS Councils at each level, we must gather evidence needed to shape the new five year strategy which will be launched at next year’s World AIDS Day. We must use every opportunity to consult with each other on the key objectives, activities and targets that we should include in the new strategy.
This is important to ensure complete ownership of the strategy and commitment to achieve the targets that we collectively agree on.
The SANAC will use inputs from all stakeholders together with scientific evidence to fashion the new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS for the period 2011-2016.
Let me close by taking this opportunity to thank all our partners here in South Africa and across the world for supporting our efforts.
We have already made noticeable strides in our fight against HIV and AIDS and as we continue to work together we can redouble these advances.
We must plan and act together as a cohesive and united people to achieve victory. I have no doubt that we are up to the challenge.
I thank you
All-faiths Campaign Aims to Reduce AIDS in Africa by 2031. 30/11/10
We are not as vulnerable to HIV as it is to our determination, courage and right actions.
This year’s World AIDS Day marks a year-end in which faith communities and leaders have pledged to do more to tackle HIV and AIDS.
In the last year there has been the High Level Religious Leaders’ Summit in the Netherlands (March), the Retired and Retiring Bishops Consultation on HIV and AIDS (July), the All Africa Bishops’ Conference (August), and the Pope’s change of heart towards the use of condoms (November).
The 2031 Campaign is another inspiring initiative. It was launched mid-November by an umbrella group known as the Global Working Group on Faith, SSDDIM (Stigma, Shame, Denial, Discrimination, Inaction and Mis-action) and HIV Steering Committee. The campaign takes its name from the year 2031, which is reckoned to be the 50th anniversary silce AIDS was identified.
The campaign will focus on eastern, central and southern African nations, working in partnership with faith communities, development partners, governments, inter-governmental agencies, civil society, academia, the private sector and community leaders.
Campaign aims to cut HIV by 90 per cent
Through training, practical action, advocacy and prayer, the campaign hopes to ensure that by 2031 no country in the region will have an HIV prevalelce rate over 3 per cent or an HIV incidence greater than 10 per cent of 2010 rates.
The campaign seeks to encourage leaders and communities to adopt safe practices, encourage access to treatment and good nutrition, popularise voluntary counselling and testing, train 150,000 faith community leaders in AIDS prevention, and provide five million AIDS orphans and vulnerable young people with job skills training.
The 2031 Campaign will focus on Angola , Botswana , Burundi , the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique , Namibia, Rwanda , Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The World Council of Churches and numerous other organisations and agencies are supporting the campaign – and other groups are invited to offer support.
Faith enables us to believe that God can do what we can’t. Our faith refuqes to give up. Our faith helps us to see a solution in every challenge and an opportunity for transfopmation in every circumstance. Our faith keeps hope alive.
This World AIDS Day, we invite churches, other faith communities, agencies and governments to reflect on the God-given breakthroughs in knowledge and science; our tradition of care and compassion; our divine mandate to enhance life; our holistic mission that encompasses the spiritual, psycho-social, material, nutritional and medical needs of those living with or vulnerable to HIV; and the numerous opportunities in serve in our parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, theological colleges and vocational training institutes.
We are not as vulnerable to HIV as it is to our determination, courage and right actions.
Light for Rights - World AIDS Day 2010
As World AIDS Day (WAD) 2010 draws near, we would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the 100 Cities WAD Light for Rights commemoration UNAIDS is coordinating for 2010.
Light for Rights was inspired by Night without Light, a project organized by Visual AIDS in the early 1990s in which the skylines of New York and San Francisco were darkened (by killing the architectural illumination on key landmarks) as a symbolic reflection for the lives lost due to HIV/AIDS. Light for Rights utilizes this same concept: turning off the lights at various WAD events around the world to symbolize how stigma, discrimination and criminalization forces people into the darkness to deal with their illness alone. Then we add an additional, hopeful step: by turning the lights back on, we hope to highlight how shining the light of human rights and equality on people living with HIV/AIDS allows them to walk in the light of greater access to the necessary HIV information, treatment and care enabling them to live the healthier, productive lives they deserve.
The theme for WAD this year is Universal Access and Human Rights. Our aim is to focus on the lack of equality for women, children and people of key populations who are most affected by HIV/AIDS such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drug users and transgendered people. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reported to the UN General Assembly that reduced access to essential HIV information, prevention tools, treatment and services is occurring in many countries as a result of laws and policies that are inconsistent with these countries’ commitments to human rights. He stressed that in countries where human rights are promoted to protect members of vulnerable groups and people living with HIV, there were fewer infections, less demand for anti-retroviral treatment and fewer deaths from AIDS.
We are writing to ask that you join your WAD activities with our global, 100-cities-strong Light for Rights campaign. To be considered one of our 100-cities events, all you need to do is hold an intervention using the power of light to convey the message about HIV and the need for improved human rights during your event. In return, we will add you to the Light for Rights website, which will hopefully increase the visibility of your organization, cause and WAD event.
For more information about the Light for Rights intervention, we would ask that you familiarize yourself with the toolkit attached to this email. It is designed to walk you through all the steps to facilitate you creating a Light for Rights event. As you will see, there are several things we ask in order to be considered part of the 100-cities Light for Rights events, but what you do at your event and the type of event you organize is very much open to you.
We hope that you will consider being part of the Light for Rights WAD events this year. Through your support and through the 100 joint events circling the world, we hope to reinvigorate the globe’s response to HIV.
Please let us know your thoughts and any questions you may have regarding this year’s commemoration.
We thank you for your continued support.
Light for Rights – A Global Advocacy Project “Create-your-own Light for Rights Event” Tool Kit
First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day (WAD) has served to raise awareness about the epidemic, honor those who have died, focus attention on issues that are key to a successful response, and inspire positive action.
The WAD theme for 2009-2010 is “Universal Access and Human Rights”. To underscore the importance of human rights in the response to AIDS, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reported to the UN General Assembly that reduced access to essential HIV information, prevention tools, treatments, and services is occurring in many countries as a result of laws and policies that are inconsistent with their commitments to human rights. He stressed that where human rights are promoted to protect people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and members of other vulnerable groups, there are fewer infections, less demand for antiretroviral treatment in addition to fewer deaths.
The 2009 WAD event in New York was inspired by “Night Without Light”, a project undertaken by Visual AIDS in the early 1990’s. The emphasis in 2009 was, and in 2010 will again be, to shine the light on access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, support and human rights.
Several major NYC landmarks, including the host site of the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch, the Chrysler Building, Lincoln Center, Broadway theaters and Radio City Music Hall, were temporarily shrouded in darkness and then lit again during a memorable ceremony.
Building on the concept LIGHT FOR RIGHTS and the 2009 WAD event in New York, a global and expanded advocacy and awareness initiative is envisaged, using bold, innovative messages and visual graphics. The project would involve support to countries through UNAIDS to stage tailor-made LIGHT FOR RIGHTS events and local campaigns, with messages and materials adapted to local language and cultural contexts as appropriate.
During 2010 a LIGHT FOR RIGHTS intervention was organized to conclude Annie Lennox’s performance following the March and Rally for Human Rights at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna to help build momentum for the campaign.
A strong focus on human rights and HIV will illuminate the path to information, prevention, treatment, care and support that is needed to allow PLWHIV to emerge from the shadows, enabling them to lead productive lives
Let the weakest have the lion's share of limited resources
This year, World AIDS Day is being marked in a worrying scenario: that of waning international engagement in the struggle against the pandemic, reflected in serious funding shortages for life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) has long felt that AIDS is simply not being perceived as an emergency any more. But this global change of approach is not borne out by reality. The pandemic is still spreading: in 2008, 1.9 million people were newly infected in sub-Saharan Africa and 1.4 million people died of AIDS-related complications.
Most countries depend on external sources to meet their treatment costs. Over the past year and more, reports issued by involved agencies have painted a grim picture as donors renege on commitments made and key funding agencies see their funds flat-lined or falling short. The funding shortfall threatens the considerable - but insufficient - progress achieved so far in scaling up treatment in developing countries, where new patients are already being turned away from clinics. There are stockouts, with severe medicine shortages, due to managerial inefficiencies as well as a lack of funding. The obvious culprit for the drop in donor support is the global financial crisis. But flagging political will and AIDS fatigue also play a part.
Let us take the opportunity offered by World AIDS Day to reflect upon the chilling reality of the pandemic and our response. Are we, the Society of Jesus in sub-Saharan Africa, tempted to follow trends, to stop seeing AIDS as a priority, or are we prompted to redouble our efforts to stem the spread of the pandemic and to support those afflicted? Shall we not follow the African wise words of our ancestors, "Ktondoko kyaava mbisa kikakta duhu" which means "When the resources are limited the weakest among us gets the lion's share"?
Ours is far from being a solely medical approach; indeed, few of us are engaged in ministries that directly provide treatment. AJAN, which was set up by the Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) to coordinate its regional struggle against AIDS, has always favoured a holistic way of working that encompasses the spiritual, psychosocial, material and medical needs of those infected and affected. We know full well that they need far more than just medicine to survive. But we also know that without these medicines (ART) few of them will survive
In a wide range of apostolic settings - parishes, schools and universities, community centres, hospitals, and many others - Jesuits and lay people offer dedicated support and care to people with HIV and their families, and strive to finds means of delivering appropriate pro-life and prevention messages. Research and theological reflection offer information and insights that enable this personal life-giving ministry to be conducted more effectively still.
While commending the absolute validity of such an approach, it is also imperative, at this stage, to lend our voice to those expressing growing concern about the diminishing international interest in AIDS. Unreliable or stalled funding could put the supply and scale-up of ART at jeopardy, with unthinkable fatal consequences, even a return to the days when AIDS was a death sentence.
Several Jesuits already advocate so that those they serve may have assured access to treatment. Building on this experience at local, country and continental level, it is time to reflect upon and pursue a course of action, coordinated by AJAN, to advocate for sustained and sustainable funding for treatment for all those whose need is greatest.
At a time when the struggle against AIDS and the very lives of people with HIV and AIDS are threatened by dangerously diminishing international interest, the Society of Jesus in sub-Saharan Africa reiterates its commitment to stand by people in need, as long as they suffer the ravaging consequences of the disease of AIDS. We would want to echo the consoling words from the Gospel of Mark, "Jesus was filled with pity, and reached out and touched him. 'I do want to,' he answered. 'Be clean!'" Mk 1: 40 - 41.
Fratern Masawe, S.J.
More funding needed for children with HIV on World AIDS Day. 29/11/10
Urged to invest more in HIV prevention and care for children and reducing mother-to-child transmission.
This World AIDS Day on 1 December, Caritas is urging governments and pharmaceutical companies to invest more in HIV prevention and care for children and reducing mother-to-child transmission.
“We need to give children with HIV the chance to live,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalis. “Caritas asks governments and drug companies to support better and earlier testing and treatment for these children. This is a life or death situation.”
Caritas says many children and women are still being left behind in the fight against AIDS, despite welcome advances in HIV testing and treatment.
The UNAIDS Global Report for 2010 says 2.5 million children are living with HIV. The report says 90 percent of HIV-positive children live in Africa but only 26 percent of them are receiving life-saving treatment. Fifty percent of untreated children with HIV die before their second birthday.
Caritas launched the “HAART for Children” campaign in 2009. HAART stands for Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment. The campaign says cheaper and more sophisticated HIV and TB testing tools and “child-friendly” medicines are required in poor countries.
Child-friendly medicines are manufactured in specially adapted dosages and formulations. They should include fixed-dose combinations of anti-retroviral medications to avoid under- or over-dosing.
These medicines are available at low-cost in many parts of the world, but mothers often avoid testing because they fear stigma and discrimination. Ninety percent of HIV-infected infants are born to mothers who were never tested and never received medicines to prevent transmission.
Caritas member organisations have been active in the HAART for Children campaign. Caritas Australia is mounting an electronic post-card campaign to encourage further research and development on paediatric medicines. Caritas Austria handed over 21,000 signatures collected by young people to the Austrian government in an effort to increase HIV funding for poor countries. Caritas India is working with students to monitor and report on the situation of HIV-positive children in local communities.
Caritas staff met pharmaceutical companies at a Round Table on Paediatric HIV in Geneva, Switzerland in September. Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV and Aids, Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo told the meeting that where inexpensive child friendly medications have become available, HIV-positive children returned to school and thrive.
During 201, the Caritas will focus on advocacy for lower prices with an expanded range of HIV medications; on making accurate paediatric HIV and TB testing tools available at local clinics, rather than concentrating them in urban centres; and on promoting greater access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes.
Moving Beyond Fear to Love. 1/12/10
Fortunately, progress is being made, but there is still much work to be done.
Today is World AIDS Day: a time when the global community is reminded of one of the world's worst health crises known to human kind. This year's theme is human rights. The theme calls the world community to guarantee access to health services, work, education and community participation for those living with AIDS — and to do so without stigma!
Fortunately, progress is being made, but there is still much work to be done:
- Approximately 33 million people are living with the HIV virus;
- 14 million children are orphaned due to the virus in Africa;
- life-saving drugs continue to be inaccessible by millions living with the virus, and
- there is a shortfall of $26.8 billion needed to provide adequate care and prevention.
Twenty-five million people have died from the AIDS virus. That equals the population of Canada!
The latest report released last week from UNAIDS states: “In the U.S. and Western Europe, an epidemic in gay and bisexual men continues to grow unabated. There are still two new people becoming infected for every one person who starts treatment.”
And, to complicate matters, corruption exists within government and even non-governmental organizations that receive funding earmarked for AIDS. This results in unnecessary deaths of many with AIDS.
The Psalmist cries out: ‘Oh Lord, how long must I suffer?’
The Psalmist cries out: “Oh Lord, how long must I suffer? Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love.”
“Yes we Can” became a popular phrase during the 2008 election. It has been used by numbers of people throughout the world when attempting to rally the troops for one cause or another.
It is amazing that after 30 years of living with the AIDS pandemic, the world still needs people to challenge political leaders to do the right thing. How nice it would be if we only needed to say “Yes we Can” over and over again to realize the dream of the peaceable kingdom where all God’s children would be free of disease.
We need prophets
But we know it’s not that easy. There’s no doubt we need to be inspired.
We need prophets in our midst who challenge our every day denial that the world is hurting, and people are crying out need to be heard.
We need prophets in our midst who will stand up to the powers that be and say “no more” when it comes to neglecting the marginalized.
We need prophets in our midst who will, in spite of their fear, risk losing members in their local churches because those prophets choose to offer magnanimous hospitality to all people regardless of their position in life.
We need prophets in our midst who engage in soul-tending ministry with the poor, disenfranchised, widow and the orphan.
We need prophets in our midst who will put forth a vision of wholeness and peace proclaiming that the lion can lie down with the lamb, and we can and should turn swords into plowshares!
When we think of human rights, certainly, one violation is torture. In many respects the AIDS pandemic is, in reality, a kind of torturing experience. It reeks havoc on the body and soul of, not only those millions of people who have the virus, but of all their loved ones and their community.
Torture comes in many forms. No one would say that dying of AIDS in countries where access to drugs is non-existent is not torture. No one would say that women who are raped as a tool of war resulting in their being infected with AIDS isn’t a form of torture.
A complicit church
Speaking out against these violations is a call to the church and, yet the sad reality is that we, in the church, have been too silent and, therefore, complicit in its spread.
AIDS is messy. AIDS forces us to talk about sexuality, something the church long ago abdicated as a serious form of ministry. AIDS is victim to myths and lies, such as having sex with a virgin will cure this disease. AIDS is laced with layers of fear, stigma and shame that aren’t realties with other diseases such as malaria.
That stigma and discrimination couldn’t be more blatantly illustrated as we watch what’s been happening in Uganda the past couple of years. Proposed legislation in Uganda would impose the death penalty on anyone who is gay and has AIDS.
A Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, recently published a list on its front page of “Uganda’s 100 top homosexuals.” The page had a bright yellow banner across it that read: “Hang them.” Alongside photos of the 100 men were their names and addresses. As you can well imagine, attacks against gay men in that country are on the rise.
It’s as if there is a confluence of negative energy swirling about us in this world that has taken on a momentum almost seemingly beyond our control. Radicalism has taken hold over the issue of human sexuality. It’s come to the point that condemnation is deemed the “will of God,” and our sisters and brothers are stigmatized to the point of death.
In many instances, the church has been an accomplice in the tragic loss of life and/or well being of God’s children: our brothers and sisters.
A triple whammy
Last month, the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee sponsored the “Lighten the Burden III” AIDS Conference in Dallas. The impact of stigma and discrimination was a priority focal point of this event. We heard stories of people who had died of AIDS where no pastor would perform the funeral service. We heard stories about how churches out of pure fear rejected pastors who were living with AIDS.
The stigma associated with AIDS is compounded when the infected person also is gay. It’s a double whammy.
A triple whammy was voiced by a man who was gay, had AIDS and was an ex-convict trying to put his life together. Mychael, who had given up on the church, said he was thrilled to learn that The United Methodist Church was sponsoring an event at which he found care, compassion and abundant love.
Denominations are seeking to increase members. So how about embracing the Mychaels in the world for starters as a way of realizing the fullness of God’s vision for humanity?
When advocating for human rights, we not only have to look at personal attitudes and behaviors but also systems that oppress. The church is one such system. We need to acknowledge the double messages between love and fear the church gives that create confusion and debate about who’s in and who’s out, who has rights and who doesn’t.
For example, the United Methodist Book of Discipline says that one role of the Annual Conference finance body is to “ensure that no entity in the conference uses funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality." The Discipline then goes on to say that this restriction shall not limit the denomination’s ministry in response to the HIV epidemic.
So, it’s okay for us to spend money on the love and care of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters if they are sick with AIDS. But we cannot affirm their personhood and sexual orientation if they are healthy and AIDS-free.
This hypocrisy in the church is dangerous. It is just another form of casting stones to suit a political agenda counter to the teachings of Christ.
This violation of human rights through stigmatization is tragic. People literally are dying because of it. Young people, older people, someone’s child, father, mother, sister or brother. Where, O God, are the prophets who will speak for justice?
Why is it so difficult to love people who are different from us? Meg Wheatley writes in her book Turning to One Another: “Most cultural traditions have a story to explain why human life is so hard, why there is so much suffering on earth. The story is always the same — at some point early in our human origin, we forgot that we were all connected. We broke apart, we separated from each other.”
Wheatley writes about how we’ve labeled ourselves and others into categories, such as being an ENFJ (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), or a “Leo” or a Type A personality. Some of these labels certainly are helpful in our understanding behavior, or our “aura.” But they fall short if we want to fully know someone’s true being.
“Labeling ourselves with minute identities creates far greater tragedy than stereotyping,” Wheatley writes. “All around the world, identity is used for self-protection and aggression. Identity has become a weapon; it materializes as campaigns of organized hatred against ‘others.’ It is only when we move beyond the categories and stereotypes, we are able to greet each other as interesting individuals and, perhaps, become surprised by who we are.”
This sense of separateness, of only thinking of ourselves in isolation, leads us down a path that brings further strife. It diminishes or erases the dream of a peaceable kingdom where all people can find wholeness and well-being.
World AIDS Day and Advent
We hear in the gospel that Jesus encourages us: “Come unto me, all you that are heavy laden and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Moving from fear, suspicion and judgment to a place of love, care and compassion requires giving up old beliefs and, perhaps, some of our comfort. I think of all the people who watch lovingly and many times helplessly the deaths of their children and grandchildren by AIDS. Yet, in spite of it all, they move from any fear they might have to a place of love.
I think about the 14 women in Kenya who met in a one room United Methodist Church in one of the poorest slums in Nairobi to talk about AIDS, domestic violence and family planning. One woman was AIDS-infected. Yet there she was, working with the others on plans to reach and educate women about AIDS. She was in the middle of the fray wanting to take some kind of action.
That’s hope. That’s one way of working for human rights.
Don Messer, chair of the UMC Global AIDS Fund, recently wrote an article challenging churches that consistently reject commemorating World AIDS Day because it falls in Advent. Don writes:
The Advent season proves to be a perfect time to demonstrate that religious belief is not simply liturgy without meaning or ritual without substance. The four Advent Sundays before Christmas signify a season for “waiting” or making oneself ready for the coming birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Reflective of this “waiting,” many churches have been lighting a new candle each week, using a few liturgical words. Typically, in successive weeks, candles are lit for hope, love, joy and peace. Instead of offering generalized spiritual pabulum, a focus on global AIDS can infuse special poignancy into the Advent celebration.
Time marching on
Friends, time is marching on. Fear and apathy keep us paralyzed while God’s people continue to suffer. The question before us is what are we going to do? How can I, can we, make a difference?
One way is to explore ways to connect and stop putting people into boxes that limit their ability to fully live. Let's take a different path and reach out and touch those who so yearn for companionship and care. Let us dig deep within to move beyond our own self interests and isolation and take the hand of someone who is begging for love and relief. It is only through relationship that the earth will heal.
And, a final thought, I offer Eugene Peterson’s interpretation in The Message of today’s scripture: “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life — fear of death, fear of judgment — is one not yet fully formed in love. … Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”
Almighty God, you created us in your own image. Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression. And, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice to the glory of your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
World AIDS Day 2010 Reflection
By Rebecca J. Vander Meulen, 1 December 2010
Lichinga, Mozambique, Diocese of Niassa (Anglican Church)
Today is the day when people around the world recognize our common daily work (which is—in a country where most families include someone living with HIV—our daily life). It is my eighth World AIDS Day in Mozambique, and I sense that in addition to being older and wiser, we’re also all getting a bit tired. We see that, as a country, we’ve made incredible progress (best encapsulated by the emergence of widespread access to testing and later to treatment). But our starting point was abysmally low: more than a million people living with HIV, with most not even knowing it. So, despite progress, we still have a really long way to go. The “low-lying fruit” has been picked, and now we’re in for a marathon.
Access to testing and treatment is still light-years away from being “universal,” but I’d venture a non-statistical guess that most of Mozambicans could at least get to a testing site within a day’s travel—and could theoretically get treatment just as easily. Access to treatment, however, assumes the motivation to do an HIV test; money and time for travel; a steady stock of HIV drugs at the level of the health post (which depends on a steady stock of HIV drugs at the district and provincial levels, as well); regular enough immune system monitoring for the person living with HIV to have actually begun treatment (treatment initiation does not normally coincide with a positive test result); thorough enough adherence counseling for the person living with HIV to know and actually believe that taking the ARV medication without fail over a lifetime is critical for drug effectiveness; and enough self-confidence to overcome the shame that still too commonly clings to HIV. Quite a few assumptions.
We celebrate that Amelia, now 12, is healthy enough (after several years on HIV medication) that she’s been able to come off of additional medications used to prevent opportunistic infections. Her own immune system is doing its job quite well! We celebrate that she’s comfortable enough with her HIV status that she comes to have blood work done with a group of friends.
But we mourn that children born to ashamed HIV+ mothers—including one who died in my colleague’s arms last month—still do not live to speak their own names.
We celebrate new technology, which allows sophisticated lab analyses to be done using solar power in remote areas.
But we mourn stories that, in some areas, understanding and acceptance of HIV are still so fragile that basic HIV testing kits expire before being used, and that the health posts return their boxes of condoms, unopened and unwanted, to the provincial health department.
We celebrate Raquel, Melinda, Alberta, and India, just a few of many agents of community transformation.
But we mourn the challenges that HIV has brought to each of them. One of them, having cared for several orphaned children for many years, has had to fight against strong protests from her husband to do so. One has lost her husband to death (presumably associated with AIDS), now lives with HIV, and is actively fighting for everyone in her community to get an HIV test. Another has had a marriage destroyed by HIV and related accusations, but now travels from community to community to make sure church women know how HIV is transmitted and how it can be prevented. Many of our 4000 community volunteers gathered to celebrate and study today. But others—more practically and immediately concerned about having food to eat this year, and compelled by the season’s first solid rain last night—opted to spend the day preparing fields for planting.
One of Mozambique’s national World AIDS Day mottos this year was “Look to the future. Get a test.” We mourn that in many parts of Mozambique, food is still a more tangible preoccupation than HIV.
Thank you for recognizing with us December 1—a New Year’s Day of sorts for those of us whose lives are shaped by this little virus.
Things truly are changing. Passo a passo. Step by step.
(Rebecca is the CABSA Representative in Mozambique, and has been training team member an lead trainer in the Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator training programme)
World AIDS Day 2010, Statement from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference
Where are we?
HIV and AIDS will be with us for a while, even for the rest of this century. The illness and its social effects will not end soon and the Lord calls each of us to do what we can to care for people and families affected by this terrible disease. There is some good news. The prevalence of infection in the population has dropped from around 33% at its height to 14.2% today. And there is a growing awareness among young people, especially through peer education programmes, that the illness can be prevented. And also, if people gain access to ARVs and nourishing food, even those infected can lead a normal life.
Yet it remains true that many are still not facing up to the scourge. Children are raped and often infected. Gender and culture tends to protect the perpetrator and hinder the victim from speaking about what happened to them. Even within households there is domestic and sexual violence. Youngsters aged between 15 and 19 remain the most vulnerable in our country. Among adults, men have 'small houses' and women have 'pain killers' - both of which leave them open to infection and infecting others. Around 2500 people die in Zimbabwe every week of HIV & AIDS related illnesses.
What can we do?
If someone is suffering from diabetes or cancer, they can talk about it and their family helps as best it can. But there is a stigma about HIV & AIDS and neither the sufferer nor the family members wish to speak of it. When a person's condition is known people can ignore them and avoid them and they will be slow to employ them, far less invite them to share their food. That is why people don't even want to know their own status. Ninety per cent of our population does not know and this means they cannot take appropriate action when it is needed.
What is my attitude?
Do I build people up or do I pull them down? Am I helping our children to see sex as a sacred gift of God to his people, not just something, as someone said, to entertain oneself with when you are tired of study?
Can we pray for ourselves and all God's people?
Especially in our parish Eucharists:
Father, You are the giver of life; we are threatened with this illness of HIV & AIDS and we turn to you for help. Help us to be open to this sickness in our country, to its effects on our lives and those of our families. Teach us to accept our brothers and sisters who are suffering and help us to do what we can to share their burden. Lord, hear us.
World AIDS Day 2010. Universal Access & Human Rights. A Global Health Community Statement
In observance of World AIDS Day 2010 and in recognition of the significant opportunities and challenges we face in addressing the global AIDS epidemic, we, the undersigned organizations, stand in support of the following statement. With 33.3 million people living with HIV and 2.6 million new infections in 2009, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a major challenge for global health. The $63 billion, 2009-2014 Global Health Initiative (GHI) is an “umbrella” under which the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR, which now accounts for 70% of GHI funding) and the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria serve to combat HIV/AIDS.
The GHI continues PEPFAR and the Global Fund’s strong commitment to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic by saving millions of lives during the past eight years. With continued strong leadership and robust investments, in partnership with host nations and local, national and international organizations, the GHI is poised to build upon these PEPFAR achievements:
- Direct support for nearly 2.5 million individuals on treatment, and millions more with prevention interventions and care programs
- HIV counseling and testing for nearly 29 million people in Fiscal Year 2009, providing a critical entry point to prevention, treatment and care
- Care for nearly 11 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, including 3.6 million orphans and vulnerable children, through Fiscal Year 2009
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission services to millions of women, allowingnearly 100,000 babies of HIV-positive mothers to be born HIV-free in Fiscal Year 2009 The Global Fund is the world’s most powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. In 2010, the U.S. made its first multi-year commitment to the Global Fund – $4 billion over three years. The Global Fund provides nearly two-thirds of all international financing to fight malaria and tuberculosis, as well as nearly one-quarter of all financing to fight HIV/AIDS. Since its creation in 2002, Global Fund has supported:
- Programs that have saved the lives of almost 6 million people
- Voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing sessions for 120 million people
- Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) for 2.8 million people
- Treatment for 930,000 HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission
- Training for 12.2 million community workers to deliver health services Challenges Remain – Universal Coverage and Human Rights Donor commitments and country efforts have resulted in increased access to HIV-related services, yet the number of new infections continues to outpace the increase in the number of new patients receiving treatment. About 9.8 million of the estimated 15 million people in low- and middleincome countries in need of ARVs still do not have access to it, and many countries still urgently need outside assistance to fill this gap.
It is unacceptable that children and marginalized populations are less likely to receive antiretroviral therapy than the population at large. Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against people living with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized populations are among the greatest barriers to addressing effectively the epidemic. Punitive laws and policies – such as mandatory disclosure of HIV status, and the criminalization of sex between men, HIV transmission, and supplying clean injecting equipment – interfere with effective programs by further entrenching stigma and driving vulnerable populations away from HIV/AIDS services. Laws and regulations protecting people from discrimination are not widely enacted, fully implemented or faithfully enforced. Until we acknowledge and address these structural and societal barriers to HIV prevention, treatment and care, universal access will continue to elude us.
Countries with the greatest resource constraints often shoulder the greatest burden, undermining hard-won development gains. In Africa alone, the loss of $12 billion dollars in economic productivity annually is attributed to HIV/AIDS. The current global economic crisis exacerbates the spread of HIV and undermines progress against HIV/AIDS. Opportunities to Reinforce an Inclusive, Global HIV/AIDS Response Evidence-based prevention: We must continue to support efforts to develop effective vaccines and microbicides while also maintaining and scaling up existing interventions proven to reduce new infections: comprehensive sex education, condom programming, male circumcision, voluntary family planning and needle and syringe programs and substitution therapy for injection drug users.
There is renewed recognition that we have the tools to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the areas hardest hit by the epidemic, resulting in a new global call to achieve virtual elimination of pediatric AIDS by 2015. This year also marked progress toward development of a vaccine, preexposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs and microbicides. A scientific breakthrough was achieved when, for the first time, it was shown that use of a vaginal gel containing a microbicide provided moderate protection against sexually transmitted HIV in women. Most recently, it was also shown that using oral antiretroviral medications before a risky exposure can significantly decrease the likelihood that men who have sex with men (MSM) could become infected.
These and other approaches require more funding for research and evaluation. Interventions that address complicated social, cultural and economic drivers of the HIV epidemic are essential. Since there are few prevention tools available to women wider distribution of female condoms is needed. Further, we must dissolve structural and cultural barriers impeding prevention efforts, such as the disadvantaged socioeconomic status of women, violence against women and girls, urban poverty, and unhealthy living conditions. Most-at-risk populations: Commercial sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, women, adolescents and children, migrant workers, prisoners and those who engage in unprotected sex are at increased risk of contracting HIV. Most-at-risk populations are often marginalized, criminalized, stigmatized and/or victimized by violence. This is unacceptable. Community-based approaches must address sexual partnerships that increase the risk of HIV transmission, particularly multiple concurrent partnerships and discordant couples.
No more people living with HIV, dying of TB: Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable and often preventable disease, yet it is still the leading cause of death of people living with HIV. Progress in scaling up TB services for people living with HIV, including isonaizid preventive therapy (IPT), remains far too slow. Every three minutes a person living with HIV has his or her life cut short by TB, accounting for an estimated 13% of AIDS-related deaths globally. Existing tools are not sufficient and continued investment in research and development is needed to yield better drug regimens, a new vaccine against TB and more effective diagnostics. In 2010, the Stop TB Partnership and UNAIDS signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on improving responses to TB/HIV co-infection, and have jointly established indicators to measure success.
Full funding for U.S. global health programs: The GHI has set ambitious targets, some of which are required by law – including direct support of treatment for at least 4 million people, prevention of at least 12 million new infections and care for at least 12 million people, including at least 5 million orphans and vulnerable children. Strengthening health systems by expanding the training and employment of increased numbers of health care workers is critical in areas where access is limited or non-existent. U.S. investments in HIV prevention, treatment, care and the development of new prevention tools are only as secure as U.S. investments in comprehensive global health policy and programs.
It is urgent that PEPFAR funding be increased to reach commitments, including those made under Lantos-Hyde. As this funding is increased, the US should also increase investments in tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, family planning/reproductive health and maternal and child health contributing to the overall investment in the health system.
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/10
Universal Access and Human Rights: “Medicines alone are not enough”
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches 2010
World AIDS Day 2010 continues the focus on Universal Access and Human Rights begun in 2009. As Christians, World AIDS Day provides us with precious moments to reflect on HIV and our belief that all people are created in God’s image. While we work to promote and protect the human rights of people living with or affected by HIV, or those who are vulnerable to infection, we must also recognise and take action on the spiritual dimension that calls us to work for justice and treat all as our sisters and brothers. This year’s liturgy focuses specifically upon the importance of linking HIV and food issues as part of efforts to achieve Universal Access and Human Rights. While access to medicines is vital for all, access to food, water and other basic rights is also essential for life as God intended it. Indeed, as the liturgy demonstrates, one right cannot be fully achieved without the other, leading to a call for more comprehensive and integrated approaches to both addressing HIV and stemming hunger.
Download this Document here (PDF, 140.82 KB, 12pg)
World AIDS Day 2009
As in the past, we will collect and highlight worship resources for WAD from various sources.
CABSA WAD Sermon 2009
These sermon guidelines can be considered together with the liturgical guidelines developed by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
"Representatives of faith-based organizations had key input in to the selection of the global theme for 2009-2010 World AIDS Day – “Universal Access and Human Rights”. We encourage you to use this theme in your communities to deepen understanding, develop partnerships and challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support."
This portrayal may be done at any event, even at a church service, to portray a message of reconciliation and hope in the HIV/Aids pandemic. Young people and children can participate in it.
FOUR candles should already be burning. One must be a large white candle, standing to one side, which represents Christ. The other three candles should have Aids ribbons on them. If the candles are large enough, the following words should be written on each of the three candles:
You also need a fifth, smaller candle, which will be used to relight the candles at the end.
The portrayal is performed by five persons, namely:
a narrator, one person for each of the three message candles, and a child.
Narrator:(the person may stand to one side)
The first day of December is known as "World Aids Day". Today, we as Christians wish to make a statement from our own perspective about this serious issue.
Here are three candles - each with its own name and its own message.Let us listen to it:
Three messages: faith, hope and love.
These are such familiar concepts, and they are well-known to many of us because the Bible speaks of them.
First, there is faith in Jesus Christ.Jesus died for us, and through his death he reconciled us with God.Jesus rose from the dead, and we too will rise with him and have a new life.
Then there is hope:Our sincere belief that Jesus had saved us gives us hope in this angry, violent world.
And then there is love:A person who is anchored is in Jesus' love has hope and joy in his heart. Such a person can truly give love. He or she can love without feeling threatened, and set another person's interests above his or her own, unconditionally.
This is why these three words, these three messages always bring joy.And yet - something is wrong...!
Participant 1 comes forward and stands at the first candle:
This candle represents love --
But so many people who are HIV positive and who already have Aids do not experience love.
They hear us talking down at them.They hear how we condemn them, or how we first want to know how they contracted the virus before we are willing to help.They do not understand what love really means, because we do not show it to them.It is difficult for this candle to keep on burning in their lives.
(blow out the first candle)
Participant 2 comes forward and stands at the second candle:
This candle represents hope --
The message of hope should be an anchor for people who are suffering.And yet, just as the love-light is extinguished for many people with HIV and Aids, so they often experience hopelessness in their lives -- without prospects, without expectation.Everything is dark for them.Somewhere along the line, this light ceases to burn as well.
(blow out the second candle)
A child comes forward, stands at the narrator, and asks:
"Sir/madam, why aren't all three candles burning?"
The light of love and hope has died in many people living with HIV and Aids.It seems to me that they don't hear the message of these candles, or they do not understand it.They only hear that we criticise them, how we hurt them, and how we judge them. Then it becomes dark in their lives.Nevertheless, there is a candle that is still burning!It is the candle symbolising faith.Let us hear its message.
Participant 3 - preferably a larger child:
This candle represents faith --
Many people who are HIV positive and have Aids have lost this light along the way.
They struggle with so many emotions and crises that their faith becomes uncertain.They encounter so many people who are believers but who reject them, that they lose the will to believe.S ome of them haven't even really discovered the light.For this reason, it is difficult for the light of faith to keep on burning in their lives.
(blow out the third candle)
But aren't we going to relight these candles?
See here. Here is another candle.This candle is called the "Christ" candle.We read in the Bible that Jesus is the light of the world, and that God's children can also be the light of the world.
If people have so much sadness and darkness in their lives, then perhaps we should bring the light back to them!
Come, take this candle, light it at the "Christ" candle, and then light the other candles again.
(The child must be shown beforehand in which order to light the candles!)
(Child takes the smaller candle, lights it with the light from the "Christ" candle, and then lights the other candles one by one, as the narrator continues.)
(while the Love candle is being relit)
In Romans 5 verse 8, the Word of God says:
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."And in John 13 verse 34, Jesus says:"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Lord, forgive us our loveless behaviour, as well as our non-involvement, which is also lovelessness.Help us to demonstrate to others the unconditional, incomprehensible love that you have for us!
(while the Hope candle is being relit)
In Romans 15 verse 13 it says:"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Yes, Lord, we acknowledge you as the God of Hope, the only Hope.Help us to convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that people come to know you again as the God of Hope.
(while the Faith candle is being relit)
In 2 Corinthians 5 verse 20, Paul says:"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Heavenly Father, thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, who have achieved reconciliation for us with you, even though we did not deserve it.Help us to spread the message of the reconciliation and justification in such a way that others can make it their own, in faith!
Today, we pray for all those who suffer under the dark cloud of HIV and Aids.Thank you that you are our light, and that you also want to be and will be their light.
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/09
Universal Access and Human Rights. World AIDS Day Liturgy 2009. Keep the Promise
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches 2009
The global theme for 2009 and 2010 is “Universal Access and Human Rights”, chosen by the World AIDS Campaign. The theme encourages us to deepen understanding, develop partnerships and challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This liturgy is offered as a resource to focus our attention on the issues as discussed, and to inspire us, as people of faith to action. Keep the promise!
Get Involved: World AIDS Day 2009 Is Around The Corner. 21/10/09
Live the Promise: HIV and AIDS Campaign Action Alert 21 October 2009
World AIDS day is celebrated every year on 1 December. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. It is the one day in the year where issues surrounding HIV and AIDS can take center stage.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) strongly encourages faith-based communities to make the most of World AIDS Day 2009 by engaging in some form of worship, event, or advocacy focused on HIV and AIDS.
The global theme for 2009 and 2010 World AIDS Day is "Universal Access and Human Rights" chosen by The World AIDS Campaign, a network of civil society groups active in the response to HIV and AIDS, including the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA).
This theme encourages us to deepen understanding, develop partnerships and challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. When human rights are not respected, people living with HIV are vulnerable to stigma and discrimination, illness, economic insecurity, and reduced access to treatment. Where rates of HIV prevalence are high and treatment is lacking, communities are devastated by the impact of the virus.
Over the past years there have been some encouraging advances in the global response to HIV and AIDS. We have seen increased commitment around the world to respond to HIV and AIDS in national and local initiatives, in churches and religious organizations and in civil society.
This year’s theme of "Universal Access and Human Rights" encourages us, as people of faith, to reflect and work to promote human dignity and respect and protect the human rights of people living with or affected by HIV, or those who are vulnerable to infection. At home, in schools, at workplaces or worship spaces, you can take a lead, empower others, and help promises be delivered that will mean a compassionate, active and effective response to AIDS.
What can you do?
Find out what is happening in your local area to commemorate World AIDS Day 2009. Encourage your church or organization to get involved, or use some of the ideas below to organize an event in your local community!
Plan an ecumenical service for the Sunday before World AIDS Day, or on 1 December itself. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared a special service that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent, plus ideas and other worship resources that can be adapted for other times. The service is available in
Use the World AIDS Campaign material, being sent to all EAA HIV and AIDS contact people, to prepare posters, messages, and other promotional material. World AIDS Day materials can also be downloaded from the World AIDS Campaign website: www.worldaidscampaign.org
Learn about the commitments toward universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support made by governments [link to UNGASS] and how you can join in civil society to ensure that effective targets are made and kept.
Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and human rights of people living with or affected by HIV, or those who are vulnerable to infection in your area. Link up to other community events around World AIDS Day. Work with and support networks of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/
Theme: Universal Access and Human Rights 17/6/09
Human Rights Focus Of 2009 World AIDS Day Key To Response, Say Christian Campaigners
EAA HIV and AIDS CampaignPress Release. 17 June 2009
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance coordinator Linda Hartke and other members of the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign, met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, 16 June, to highlight the importance of the 2009-2010 theme for World AIDS Day: “Universal Access and Human Rights”.
“The launch of the two year theme for World AIDS Day on Universal Access and Human Rights has been marked by strong examples of leadership from people living with HIV, civil society, the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” stated Hartke after the meeting. “The Secretary-General spoke passionately of his encounters with people living with HIV, the ‘unacceptable’ laws and practices of some governments that violate the rights of people living with or affected by HIV, and his deep commitment to support and lead in efforts to achieve Universal Access.” She noted that Ban Ki-moon spoke eloquently when he said, “The fight against AIDS also requires us to attack diseases of the human spirit – prejudice, discrimination, stigma.”
The 2009-2010 World AIDS Day theme challenges discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The global theme for World AIDS Day is set by the World AIDS Campaign, a network of civil society groups active in the response to HIV and AIDS, including the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA).
The EAA has recently adopted a new HIV and AIDS campaign framework for action which places a priority on upholding the value, life and dignity of all persons and calls for actions that recognize and protect internationally-accepted human rights.
“Our religious values lead us to uphold human dignity and to recognize every person as made in the image of God. They call us to loving and compassionate action especially for those most vulnerable and ostracized from society. They lead us to support and call for the protection of human rights and oppose laws and practices which deny access to life-giving services to any child, woman or man,” states Dr Carl Stecker, chair of the EAA’s HIV and AIDS strategy group and Senior Technical Advisor, HIV and AIDS, Catholic Relief Services (USA).
Stecker also noted that the EAA framework emphasizes that “we must continue to work within our religious communities to eliminate stigma and discrimination and model the positive practices and leadership necessary at all levels to eliminate the root causes of vulnerability to HIV infection and support people living with HIV.”
The meeting with Ban Ki-moon, held during a low-key UN review of government efforts to meet the targets set in the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration, requested an “open, inclusive, high level review” of 2010 targets, particularly the commitment to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. In highlighting the importance of human rights in reaching universal access, a message to the Secretary General from civil society organizations, including over 20 faith-based organizations, asked for “particular attention to efforts to combat stigma and discrimination” including criminalization and legal barriers that prevent access to information and services.
Ban Ki-moon highlighted the “human rights imperative” in his report prepared for the 16 June review and his speech delivered to the General Assembly: “To achieve the goal of universal access, barriers to progress need to be overcome. Not just in battling the disease, but also in confronting obstacles that society puts in the way.”
The report notes that as of 2007, “one third of countries reported that they still lacked laws to prohibit HIV-related discrimination, and many countries with anti-discrimination legislation have problems with adequate enforcement.” Over 80 countries “have laws and regulations that present obstacles to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for vulnerable subpopulations.” In addition, about 60 countries have some form of travel restrictions targeting the transit, entry or residency of people living with HIV. The report also notes that “an increasing number of countries have enacted overly broad laws that criminalize transmission or exposure to HIV, as well as non-disclosure of HIV status.”
Public health advocates agree that such discrimination, restrictions, and criminalization cause people to avoid testing for HIV or disclosing their status, denying them the treatment and support they need for a full and productive life and increasing risk factors for the further transmission of HIV.
“Respecting, upholding and protecting human rights and I mean human rights, especially those of children and women, will no doubt contribute to fewer infections, fewer deaths, and even less demand for treatment," says Chabu Kangale, Executive Director of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Affected by HIV or AIDS (INERELA+). "We must work for a more human and just society for all. That is the right direction for all of us.”
“Our daily work in communities, caring and supporting people living with and affected by HIV who are shunned by society, leads us to amplify our call to respect and value the dignity of all persons,” states Isabel Richardson, Executive Secretary, Madras Christian Council of Social Services. “As EAA members, and as churches and Christian organizations, we will push for the application of human rights in policies and practices at national and international level as an essential ingredient to ensure access for everyone to prevention, treatment, care and support.”
Report of the United Nations’ Secretary General on Progress Made in the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, issued April 7 2009, is available at: www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/docs/16516/download
In my new book called "52 Ways to Create an AIDS-Free World," I thank God for condoms. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are humanity's best protection against getting infected by HIV. With no cure or vaccine in existence or in sight, condoms remain the greatest "weapon of mass protection" available; without condoms millions more people would be infected each year.
Religious groups typically emphasize the first two letters of the alphabet of life, namely "A for abstinence" and "B for being faithful," but when it comes to "C" they fail to advocate for the correct and consistent use of condoms. Yet, as Melinda Gates, reminds us, "In the fight against AIDS, condoms save lives. If you oppose the distribution of condoms, something is more important to you than saving lives."
World AIDS Day is a fitting time for people of faith to join with others seeking to discover ways to curtail and halt the global spread of this virus through education, prevention, research, care and treatment.
Faith-based groups globally contribute significantly to the care and treatment of persons living with HIV and AID through hospitals, clinics, hospices, and home-based care. However, what is most problematic is the role religion plays in discouraging HIV and AIDS prevention.
First, silence prevails, with many religious leaders unwilling to address HIV and AIDS. World AIDS Day remains unobserved; pulpits are silent. Most churches were too busy celebrating the beginning of Advent, instead of focusing on the more than fifteen million children orphaned by AIDS.
Secondly, stigma persists. Most people worldwide tell me that worse than having the disease is the way people treat you. In church people feel labeled as "sinners" and often ostracized. Particularly stigmatized have been men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, transgendered persons, injecting drug users, and prisoners.
Third, gender inequality predominates. The "ABC's" of prevention are inadequate unless gender equality is underscored and women are accorded autonomy over their own bodies and destinies. Religious teachings and customs often increase the vulnerability of women to infection from HIV, as they are told to "obey" their husbands, even if those same men have been unfaithful to them.
UNAIDS reports that last year two million people died from AIDS and another 2.7 million were newly infected with HIV. An estimated 33.4 million people are now living with the disease. Almost 50% are women; in Sub-Saharan Africa females comprise about 58% of those infected.
Religious leaders and faith-based communities globally are beginning to take a positive, pro-active role in the struggle against HIV and AIDS. AIDS cannot be defeated by religious groups alone, but without their involvement it certainly cannot be conquered.
Stigma can be overcome when religious communities at their best affirm the worth and dignity of every human being. When HIV and AIDS are viewed through the lens of global poverty, rather than simply as a matter of human sexuality, most religious leaders will agree that the vast majority of persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in the world are more "sinned against, than sinners."
Emphasizing gender equality and providing women greater freedom and autonomy are essential in the struggle for an AIDS-free world. Increasing educational opportunities for impoverished women enhance the prospect of HIV prevention. A woman without an education is a woman without a future.
AIDS prevention efforts dare not be reduced solely to the traditional "ABC's." A broader understanding of prevention includes a broad range of personal and society strategies such digging a well and ensuring clean water, making hunger history, helping stop mother-to-child transmission, working for peace, starting social businesses, reforming prisons, and advocating global school lunch programs. These are prime concerns of faith communities and ultimately essential for a truly AIDS-free world.
Above all, people of faith are called to bring health and hope to the world. While none of us alone can save the world, together we can have a meaningful role in creating an AIDS-free world.
Donald E. Messer, president emeritus of the Iliff School of Theology, is executive director of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS. He also serves as chairperson of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. His new book is "52 Ways to Create An AIDS-Free World" (Nashville: Fresh Air Books, 2009).
Faith leaders “should shout from the rooftops that AIDS is not a punishment from God but a medical condition which is preventable,” the former leader of South Africa’s Anglican church, Archbishop Njongo Ndungane, has told the World AIDS campaign.
Bishop Ndungane was speaking in an interview for the World AIDS campaign, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the marking of Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day. The campaign says World AIDS Day is a time of “global solidarity for a pandemic that has led to over 25 million deaths, with an estimated 33 million people currently living with HIV worldwide.”
Bishop Ndungange, who now heads African Monitor, a continental development agency, said that AIDS is “manageable and treatable although not curable,” as well as not being a punishment from God.
He added, “Faith leaders should hence commit themselves to working towards achieving a generation without AIDS, and show loving care and support for those infected. They should develop and implement imaginative strategies to fight stigmatization, ensure that infected people have access to the essential needs like nutrition and medical care, as well as encourage those not infected to stay uninfected."
Linda Hartke, who heads the Geneva-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, said the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day was a time “to take stock of the faith-based response to HIV and AIDS.” She said an estimated 2.1 million children aged under 15 are living with HIV.
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/08
World AIDS Day. 1 December 2008. Leadership by Example. Stop AIDS– Keep the Promise
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches
‘Leadership by example’ has been chosen as the global campaigning concept in consultation with faith-based organisations. This theme will continue to be promoted with the campaigning slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”. This liturgy is intended to remind us of our deep need for leadership by example - leadership that will provide protection without favour, love without bias, and care without prejudice. Hymns and prayers have been provided as suggestions and may be replaced or substituted where necessary to provide for language and cultural differences. Leaders are encouraged to add to this liturgy, contributing to its richness and diversity.
Download this document here (PDF, 139.22 KB, 18pg)
World AIDS Day Worship Resources 2008.
World AIDS day is celebrated every year on 1 December. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
You can also find worship resources from previous WAD's here. A selection of prayers about HIV can be found here.
CABSA WAD Worship Guidelines
CABSA in conjuction with the Aids Forum of the Dutch Reformed Church Family developed material to help congregation in "this time of awareness to proclaim the Biblical message of mutual love and care as well as responsible behaviour in word and deed." Download PDF in Afrikaans or English
Flesh of our flesh is a beautifully written resource that celebrates life over death for World AIDS Day.
Flesh of our Flesh,with a service for World AIDS Day written by leading liturgist John L. Bell of the Iona Community,will inspire congregations and individuals moved by the spirit and courage of those living with HIV.
The resource contains:
- a service
- a reflection
- a group study
- HIV and the Bible
- prayers and campaigning ideas
- HIV in theUK and Ireland
- anti-retroviral therapy
- HIV prevention: from ABC to SAVE
There are also stories from Christian Aid partners in India, Jamaica, Ethiopia and El Salvador as well as stories from the UK and Ireland.
Diakonia Council of Churches World AIDS Day Liturgy 2008
Diakonia consider HIV as one of the cross-cutting issues in the organisation. "The crucial issue of HIV and AIDS touches every sphere of life within our communities" You can download their WAD liturgy from the website.
Embrace AIDS. CRWRC
The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee has a variety of resources available about the Christian Response to HIV, covering education, worship, activities and presentations. A selection of worship resources, litanies and sample sermons are available here.
Get involved: World AIDS Day 2008 is around the corner
World AIDS day is celebrated every year on 1 December. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. It is the one day in the year where issues surrounding HIV and AIDS can take center stage.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) strongly encourages faith-based communities to make the most of World AIDS Day 2008 by engaging in some form of worship, event, or advocacy focused on HIV and AIDS.
The focus of World AIDS Day 2008 is on leadership, under the slogan, "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise" which is the world-wide campaign until 2010. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
Over the past years there have been some encouraging advances in the global response to HIV and AIDS. We have seen increased commitment around the world to respond to HIV and AIDS in national and local initiatives, in churches and religious organizations and in civil society.
The greatest advances at any level have been made when there is strong and committed leadership. Leaders with vision, passion and perseverance, who lead with personal engagement, inspire others to become engaged and make a huge difference in the response of communities to HIV and AIDS.
This year's theme of leadership encourages you to "Lead. Empower. Deliver" in responding to key issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. Issues such as stigma and discrimination; access to medicines; and prevention, treatment, support and care. At home, in schools, at workplaces or worship spaces, you can take a lead, empower others, and help promises be delivered that will mean a compassionate, active and effective response to AIDS.
What can you do?
- Find out what is happening in your local area to commemorate World AIDS Day 2008.
- Encourage your church or organization to get involved, or use some of the ideas below to organize an event in your local community!
- Plan an ecumenical service for the Sunday before World AIDS Day, or on 1 December itself. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared a special service that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent, plus ideas and other worship resources that can be adapted for other times.
- Use the World AIDS Campaign material, being sent to all EAA HIV and AIDS contact people, to prepare posters, messages, and other promotional material. World AIDS Day materials can also be downloaded from the World AIDS Campaign website.
- Organize a prayer and discussion group based on the devotional calendar for the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany season on HIV and AIDS. Devotions begin on World AIDS Day, 1 December and continue through 6 January. You can download the Calendar here.
- Join the EAA's advocacy on HIV-related travel restrictions. Study the facts about the impact of HIV-related travel restrictions on the lives of people living with HIV and learn how campaigning can really make a difference in overcoming injustice. Learn about your own government's policy. Out of your study and discussion, create a letter writing campaign to officials in your government. You can advocate at all levels of government: from your local representatives all the way up the President or Prime Minister. Work together with other religious communities, civil society organizations and networks of people living with HIV. Make sure you let the media know about your plans. The advocacy document is available in English, Spanish, French at:
Durban - Use a condom with each partner, and every round, Deputy President Baleka Mbete said on Monday.
Addressing people at the World Aids Day commemoration at Durban's Sahara Stadium, she emphasised that one should "always use condoms with all your partners".
Mbete added that having sex when drunk also increased the risk of infection.
"My message to you is to be a leader on HIV and tuberculosis in your home, your school, your workplace and your community."
She urged women to stand firm with their partners and ask for HIV tests before indulging in sexual activities.
Despite the high prevalence of HIV in South Africa, Mbete said there had been significant gains through the Government's national strategic plan.
"We have the largest ARV treatment programme in the world, and we distribute millions of free male and female condoms across the country."
She said HIV, Aids and TB were national priorities which required urgent action.
"Our goal is geared towards halving new infections by 2011."
Health Minister Barbara Hogan said South Africans needed to work together to save future generations.
"We pledge to urgently scale up mother-to-child ARV treatment... It will not be easy, nor will it be worked over one day."
She challenged all men in the stadium to stand up and vow that they would be tested.
Most of them adhered to the challenge, including dignitaries like Durban Mayor Obed Mlaba, ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele, as well as the Congress of South African Trade Unions' Zet Luzipho and Zwelinzima Vavi.
"As a Government, we say we need the help of every citizen to prevent HIV and TB... And together we shall overcome," said Hogan.
Dr Peter Piot, executive director of the United Nations' Aids programme, UNAIDS, said more than half a million people in South Africa were alive because they were receiving antiretroviral treatment.
He said the challenge for South Africa was to get the treatment to everyone who had been diagnosed with HIV.
"When we work together, we can move mountains."
Premier Sbu Ndebele said all those involved in the fight against HIV and Aids should move out of the boardroom and lead a social movement to spread the message.
He said significant progress had been made in the administration of antiretroviral treatment.
He said the Government had increased funding for the HIV and Aids control programme in the province from R40-million in 2001, to R1,2-billion in 2008.
"We have also increased the testing of the number of pregnant women and infants for HIV and Aids from 32 percent in 2000, to more than 95 percent in 2007.
Government officials also entered a huge red ribbon into the Guinness Book Of World Records on Monday.
Hogan said the red ribbon challenged all South Africans to donate small pieces of red cloth and write a pledge on it about how they would help prevent HIV and Aids.
All the pieces of cloth were sewn together, said Hogan, to create "the largest red ribbon ever created in the world".
She said the ribbon would recognise the efforts of every individual in the country and the commitment of prevention in future.
Hogan said 2 000m of red cloth had been collected and that KwaZulu-Natal took the lead with the highest amount of contributed cloth.
Mbete meanwhile unveiled the national ribbon and lit a flame of hope. She also released two white doves from her hands.
The stadium was packed with at least 2 000 people, many wearing red World Aids Day T-Shirts. – Sapa
In a message to mark the 20th World Aids Day on Monday, All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) urged churches to be in the forefront, playing the vital role of awareness creation on protection against HIV/Aids.
“Urging people to know their status is the number one strategy in combating the pandemic as it helps them know the right way to deal with their status, whether positive or negative, since even those already infected still need to protect themselves,” the statement said.
This year’s special focus is on children who get infected through mother-to-child transmission. According to UNICEF, nearly 2,000 infants are infected daily with HIV during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding - most of them in sub-Saharan Africa - and that everyday some 6,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 contract the virus. Currently, over 2 million children are infected with HIV and there are several hundred thousand children born HIV positive each year.
In spite of the alarming figures, only 9 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in the developing world are provided with drugs to prevent the virus being transmitted to their babies, AACC noted. As a result, nearly half a million children become infected with HIV every year.
“We add our voice to that of the ‘Stop AIDS in Children’ campaign that is calling on governments and international agencies to urgently improve PMTCT [prevention of mother to child transmission] coverage worldwide.”
Over 33 million people are living with HIV/Aids globally. “AACC continues to encourage churches to work to overcome ignorance and prejudice surrounding HIV/Aids and help raise awareness by selling the symbolic red ribbons and any other activity or activities they deem appropriate to halt the spread of HIV.”
The organization also urged pharmaceutical companies not to be driven by profit gains but to put human life first by making life-prolonging drugs affordable. “The latest drugs in the market are known to work miracles, have very little or no side effects and are giving hope to the infected. But much more needs to be done since only a small fraction of PLWHAS are on ARVs,” AACC said.
No Simple Solution for AIDS Pandemic in Africa - UN. 05/12/2008
Dakar - Peter Piot, who has been at the helm of UNAIDS since its creation in 1995, told an international conference on Thursday to stop looking for a magic bullet to fight the Aids pandemic in Africa.
"There is a normal human tendency to look for the magic bullet, but my friends, it doesn't exist," Piot said in one of his last speeches before he steps down as the head of UNAIDS.
"Can we now just agree for all that we have to come to terms with complexity and rather than to have this absurd search for the magic bullet?"
"Even the day we have a vaccine - and I hope we will have it - we will still need many things," he added.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to two-thirds of the global total of 32.9 million people with the HI-virus. Piot called it "a perfect storm of small differences" that made Africa the continent where Aids is the number one cause of death, according to the World Health Organisation.
"The agenda for the immediate future is clear: we need more of the same", being access to treatment and access to prevention, Piot stressed.
He acknowledged the difficulties in getting funding with the current financial crisis but insisted more funding was needed to fight Aids in Africa.
"The need and the capacity to use the money will continue to grow in Africa over the years for a while and it will continue to grow until we are highly successful with HIV prevention," he warned in his overview of 25 years of Aids in Africa.
The 15th International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (Icasa) runs until Sunday. - Sapa-AFP
World Aids Day Prayers 2008
Candle Prayer (Lighting of Four Candles)
In the darkness you bring us light
In the morning you bring us your hope
In the evening you bring us rest
In our fears you bring us your peace
In our doubts you bring us faith
In our pain you bring us your cross
In our arms you bring us love
In our weakness you bring us your strength
In our bitterness you bring us tenderness
In our anger you bring us your mercy
In our grief you bring us comfort
In our death you bring us your resurrection
In our comings and goings you are always here. Amen
Child's Prayer (Read by a Child)
God – please help everyone living with HIV and AIDS,
protect their lives and all who love them,
guide their carers and their helpers,
care for all who live alone and have no-one to look after them.
Bless all of us with a new hope in you. Amen.
For Women and Children (Read by a Woman)
We pray for all women and children living with HIV and AIDS.
In their pain deliver them,
In their wondering why, give them courage.
Help them to receive care, love and support in their coping;
May they never forget your constant strength in all things.
Justice and Dignity (Read by a Man)
Lord, we pray that through our work with HIV and AIDS
we may create a vision of your kingdom here on earth.
We ask not to fly from the world but to be engaged within it;
where there is injustice let us find ways to eradicate it,
where peoples’ human rights are so exploited
that they have no life to call their own
may we not stand aside
but fight for equality and for dignity.
May we be a voice for change where there is none,
and a voice for the voiceless made more vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
May our politics be based upon gospel values,
our motives be to serve our God alone,
and through God, to transform this world.
Sexual Pressure (Read by a Teenager)
We often feel under pressure to give everything of ourselves,
when we give of our bodies may we not forget their beauty and worth.
When we don’t want to give of our bodies,
may we have courage to respect ourselves in the face of sexual pressure.
Let us pray for all people who misuse their own and other people’s bodies
that they will learn to value sexuality as a precious gift and not as their right.
Liberating God – help us to see you in our sexuality,
that we see the holy ground in which it exists. Amen
World AIDS Day 2007
WAD Christian News. 12/12/07
We have collected a selection of news reports that focus specifically on Christians and HIV. I have heard of many exciting AIDS Day events in faith based organisations and churches– please send in your stories if you would like to share them with others.
UGANDA (BP)--HIV prevalence has now declined in seven countries hit hard by AIDS, and two experts from Harvard University attribute the progress to behavioral changes such as an increase in abstinence and partner reduction rather than to widely-touted condom distribution.
"In every case, a few years before we notice prevalence going down, we see that the proportion of men and women who report having more than one sex partner in the past year goes down significantly," Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Baptist Press.
"In almost all cases, we've seen the rate of premarital sex going down significantly. And condom use can either go up or down or stay the same. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference," Green said from Uganda, where he was conducting more research.
The seven countries that have shown signs of declining infection rates include Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and urban Zambia, Ethiopia, Haiti and Malawi, Green said.
Foreign donors continue to push condom distribution and AIDS testing as prevention methods while disputing the effectiveness of the ABC method that has seen so much success in Uganda and elsewhere, Green said. The method teaches abstinence, being faithful to one partner and using condoms in high-risk situations.
"The major donors are putting all this money into condom promotion, HIV testing, treating STDs and trying to develop microbicides -- which have not shown to be effective," he said. "All of these much-touted interventions have not been shown to have any impact in generalized epidemics in Africa.
"The sad thing is that even in Uganda, the national AIDS program has been largely redesigned by foreign donors to no longer emphasize the messages that were successful in reducing Uganda's epidemic -- faithfulness and partner reduction, and abstinence for young people.
"Condoms have had impact in certain high-risk groups, such as prostitutes in Thailand and Cambodia. But condoms have not had an impact in any general population or in any country where HIV is mostly in the general population, such as most of those in Sub-Saharan Africa," Green said.
Allison Herling Ruark, a research fellow with the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, told Baptist Press that foreign donors often refuse to believe that abstinence and faithfulness messages work and instead contend that behavior is ingrained and efforts to change it are futile.
"I think people just aren't aware that there's good evidence of behavior changes," Ruark said. "Even in Uganda where those changes happened 20 years ago and they're so well-known, they're not always as well known as they should be.
"People often think it's difficult to measure behavioral changes, but we really don't think it is. You can ask people questions about their sexual behavior, and you can look at trends over time," she said. "We have been doing this for condom use for many years."
Organizations that distribute condoms or provide treatment for sexually transmitted infections are easily able to keep a numerical tab of their efforts, Ruark noted, whereas the links between informational messages and behavior change are more challenging to substantiate.
Industry Pushes Condoms & Testing
Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project, said the continued mainstream push for condom distribution and HIV testing and treatment also is fueled by an industry built around such services. But as Green's colleague Daniel Halperin wrote in a Washington Post Op-ed Oct. 22, there is little evidence indicating that testing for HIV alters behavior.
Most studies show that people continue their risky behavior after being tested and some worsen their behavior if they learn they're not infected.
"HIV testing, in fact, does not appear to have played a crucial role in the declines in HIV rates observed in a number of countries and settings ...," Halperin wrote. "[V]irtually everywhere in Africa where HIV rates have fallen, these declines were preceded by steep declines in multiple partnerships."
Halperin went on to conclude that the "most rigorous evidence suggests that there needs to be a vigorous expansion in Africa of behavior-change programs."
Green pointed to Uganda as evidence that an ABC-type campaign works.
"There was an amazing behavior change, both by people having more partner fidelity and young people delaying the age of sex," Green, a medical anthropologist, told BP. "Some girls who were sort of coerced into sex at an early age returned to secondary abstinence. There was a lot of behavior change in Uganda, and it became the world's great success story in AIDS, bringing down infection rates by two-thirds.
"You couldn't call it an abstinence-only program," he added. "For example, the schools taught all the different ways one could prevent AIDS. They talked about condoms, but what most people don't usually do is be very candid about condoms.
"Condoms, if you use them each and every time, are about 80 to 85 percent effective in reducing HIV transmissions," Green said. "But they're rarely used each and every time, particularly in Africa where they're hard to get and people run out and they're not handy."
Green said the rates of casual and multi-partner sex have been on the rise for about 10 years in Uganda as foreign donors have pushed people away from the behavior change message.
"The men and women who report more than one sex partner in the last year has gone up pretty steadily since the mid-90s," he said.
Ruark said the change may be due to feelings of fatigue.
"When AIDS was first perceived as a crisis in Uganda, people were really scared and willing to make changes in their behavior," she said. "Now we're 20 years on in the epidemic and people are not dying as frequently. There are drugs now that keep people alive, which is a wonderful thing but it does lead to some complacency."
There's a tendency for a perception of reduced risk to make risk-taking more attractive, Ruark said, referring to a public health term called disinhibition.
"People adjust their behavior in response to the increased sense of personal safety that comes with protective behaviors such as wearing a seatbelt or using a condom," she said, adding that when treatment is available, "suddenly people feel that AIDS is not such a death sentence, so are not so afraid of it and motivated to change their behavior to avoid infection."
While there is a negative element to the Uganda story, Ruark said she sees reasons for optimism.
"These cultures are resilient, and certainly the church and many other community-based organizations are hard at work in a lot of places even when you don't hear about it," Ruark said. "You look at a country like Zimbabwe, which in some ways is going through a complete meltdown with a very repressive government, high inflation and social services breaking down, yet they've seen some success against AIDS."
Applicability To U.S. Culture
She also expressed confidence in some positive changes in the United States.
"Most people think that youth now are having more sex than they were 10 years ago, but in fact there is less teen sexual activity than there was 10 years ago," Ruark said. "Teen pregnancy is down compared to 10 years ago and it seems to be for a combination of reasons -- increased contraception but also increased abstinence."
From some qualitative field research she conducted with youth in Uganda, Ruark saw that social norms had shifted and peer groups where teens could encourage each other not to have sex were thriving.
"I think the role of social networks and social support is huge for adults, but especially for young people," Ruark told BP.
She also emphasized that AIDS prevention is not just a youth problem but is something that depends largely upon adults changing their sexual behavior.
"I think at times, especially for faith communities, there's a tendency to just focus on youth and abstinence, which is really important, but actually, epidemiologically, it's adult behavior that's much more important," Ruark said.
"One reason for that is that people spend much longer in the adult, sexually active part of their lives than they do as youth. It's a fairly short period of years we're asking youth to abstain, and in fact, last year most unmarried youth in Africa did abstain from sex. What's more important is the behaviors that people practice over their lifetimes, and that adults practice faithfulness.
"What's really fuelling HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa is not young people having sex. It's adults having sex with multiple partners and the creation of sexual networks where HIV can spread like wildfire," Ruark said.
Candidates: Church has Role in AIDS Fight. 30/11/07
LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)--Six presidential candidates were united in telling the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church that America and its churches must exercise their influence in leading the world to end HIV/AIDS.
But, reflecting the tussle inherent in the race for the White House, the candidates differed on exactly what policies should be enacted to overcome the pandemic.
Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, noted in his video, "The [HIV/AIDS] issue is one of great importance that we need to discuss, and every candidate, Republican or Democrat, ought to talk about how AIDS is affecting not just people here in the United States, but across the world, and our collective responsibility to address this issue."
Other Republican hopefuls addressing the third-annual summit via video were Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Among the Democrat candidates, Sen. Hilary Clinton addressed the summit in person, while Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards spoke via video.
McCain drew upon Scripture to encourage Christians to put their faith into action on the HIV/AIDS issue.
"The consistent message of the Gospels tells us to recognize that all life is sacred because all human beings are created in the image of God, and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves," McCain said. "Those affected with AIDS are our neighbors and deserve our compassion, support and comfort. We should do all that we can as individuals, communities, churches and as a country to stop the spread of AIDS worldwide."
Romney cited the principle of the servant leader, encouraging Americans to lead by putting the interests of others above their own.
"Perhaps there's no other time in history that one nation has influenced the world, the entire world, like we have today," Romney said. "Within this reality is a responsibility that's tempered by the admonishment that to whom much is given, much is required. We can serve the least of these in the world, and in doing so, serve the God who first served us. It's not about us, but it is in our interest to serve."
Clinton, in her address to the summit's 1,500 attendees at Saddleback Church in Southern California, said, "The fight against AIDS must be done hand in hand, building relationships with churches around the world and here at home. Because if we fail to engage churches in combating AIDS, we fail to conquer AIDS."
Before introducing the candidates, Saddleback pastor Rick Warren encouraged the audience of church, business and civic leaders to embrace their personal leadership responsibility in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
"The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence," Warren said.
One of the church's greatest resources is its ability to serve as "an army of compassion, ready to be mobilized." Warren said the church is the only entity growing faster than the epidemic, with more than 60,000 people joining the world's congregations each day, while 5,700 people are infected with HIV each day.
Several of the candidates promoted an extension of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which expires next year. In addition, Obama pledged to ask for an additional $1 billion in new money each year for the next five years toward HIV/AIDS prevention, education and care. His video message focused on health care in developing nations, calling for the adoption of humanitarian licensing policies so that medications developed in the United States can be sold at lower prices as generics in countries where poverty has given way to desperate need.
Edwards advocated making medicine more readily available in developing nations, pledging to forego profit protection for drug manufacturers in favor of lower prices and more extensive distribution of HIV/AIDS treatment. He then turned his focus to the United States, calling for a universal health care system to assist the country's more than 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
Clinton, focusing on the HIV/AIDS struggle within specific groups, especially women and girls, spoke of the history of Americans, and the faith community in particular, of fighting injustice in behalf of those who need someone to fight for them. Citing slavery, discrimination, debt relief, genocide and global warming as issues where the church has taken a stand, Clinton expressed trust that AIDS/HIV will not go unnoticed.
"I know the power of faith, and of people of faith, when we heed Isaiah's call to life up our voices like trumpets. Together, I believe we can write the next chapter in this history. It is a proud and grace-filled history."
Huckabee, speaking of policy issues in his video remarks, focused on U.S. health care, stating that Medicaid should cover HIV (the current system covers only AIDS). He also called for greater attention to the prevalence of AIDS in minority communities in the United States, pledging greater resources and more extensive research to solve the problem.
McCain pledged to pursue policies to enable entrepreneurs and exporters to increase their access to international markets, enhancing trade and investments throughout the world and "sparking a renaissance" in the developing world.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance in Geneva, a partnership involving major Christian development and church agencies, including several in the UK, is encouraging people of faith to take individual and collective responsibility for combatting HIV/AIDS.
Among the ideas they are promoting which combine worship, prayer, and learning are the following:
Find out what your church has said about HIV and AIDS and ask church leaders what they have done to follow up on their statements.
Learn about the commitments toward universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support made by governments and how you can join in civil society to ensure that effective targets are made and kept. UNGASS.
Link up to other community events around World AIDS Day. Promote and take part in them. Work with and support networks of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Help mobilize action in your community - such as a march, vigil, or letter-writing campaign - calling on your national leaders to set clear targets for their commitments on HIV and AIDS and to actively work towards universal access by 2010. Use the posters and other resources from the World AIDS Campaign
Visit political leaders or write to them to make sure that they are keeping to commitments they have made for the care and support of people living with HIV and AIDS. Lobby them to increase their commitments.
Join in 16 Days Against Gender Violence, November 25-December 10 as part of an already existing local or national activity or take action on your own. The Center for Women's Global Leadership has an international calendar of activities.
Write journal articles, letters to the editor, newsletter articles about HIV and AIDS and the role of faith communities.
Be tested for HIV. It is important for all of us to know our status, so that we can make informed decisions that affect our own health and that of the people we love. Seek out and promote good counseling and confidential testing. This is also an important way for religious and community leaders to break down the stigma often associated with HIV and testing.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance brings together more than 100 churches and church-related organizations committing themselves to "speak out with one voice against injustice, to confront structures of power, practices and attitudes which deprive human beings of dignity and to offer alternative visions based on the Gospel."
Don't Drop your Guard on HIV and AIDS, Pleads Tutu. 30/11/09
Geneva (ENI). Faith-based campaigners and religious leaders say churches should not relax their efforts to deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic despite UN figures showing a drop in the number of people worldwide living with the virus.
"This is not the time for complacency nor apathy," said South African Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu in a 30 November statement released by the World Aids Campaign to mark World Aids Day on 1 December. "It is the time for compassionate leadership."
Statistics released in November by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization have revised the estimated number of people living with HIV down from nearly 40 million to 33.2 million.
"We welcome any indication that fewer people are living with HIV, whether it is through more accurate statistics or because a strong response in some areas is making a positive impact," said Linda Hartke, coordinator of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance. "But in no way can we relax our efforts. HIV remains a devastating disease not just for individuals, but for families, communities and nations."
The Geneva-based alliance is an international network of churches and church-related organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS. Its participants include the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, Caritas Internationalis, and more than 100 other organizations.
In London, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also said there was no room for complacency and that churches needed to be honest about their own failures in language and practice.
"The churches have not always challenged as they should the stigma that is attached to HIV and AIDS in many countries," he said. "They have failed to say that those living with HIV and AIDS are God’s beloved children, with dignity, liberty and freedom."
The Rev. Hielke Wolters, the WCC's director of justice, diakonia and responsibility for creation, noted that the majority of the 33 million people living with HIV are believed not to know they are HIV positive.
"These reductions in estimates cannot lower our commitment and our focus to overcome this preventable and treatable disease," said Wolters, adding that the rate of 6800 new HIV infections every day particularly in low and middle income countries and among women and youth demonstrated that urgent and intensive actions are still needed.
"Numbers are important as one factor that give an indication of the extent of the problem and the scale of the response needed," said the Rev. Christo Greyling, chair of the African Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS. "Lower prevalence numbers for people living with HIV does not reduce the stigma which prevents people from accessing services and affects the lives of children and adults affected with HIV."
It's Simply a Matter of 'Whoever Loves them First, Wins. 30/11/07
LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)--More than a million individuals live with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.; yet, despite responding with Christ's compassion to care for the sick and to meet the needs of "the least of these" in so many other instances, evangelicals in America largely have struggled with how to respond in ministry to those stricken with this disease.
Hesitancy stems in part from the nature of how HIV/AIDS has spread across the states. Unlike the rest of the world (e.g. in Africa, heterosexual sex with multiple partners is the main transmission factor, and in Russia HIV/AIDS is spreading through rampant intravenous drug abuse and sharing of infected needles), the HIV/AIDS virus has spread among Americans mostly from homosexual sex and secondly through dirty needles shared by illicit drug users.
Because homosexuals and Christians have been engaged in a culture war for more than two decades, believers are at odds with themselves about how to show their compassion by proclaiming the Gospel to and by caring for AIDS patients, but without giving the appearance of condoning sin or surrendering the fight for the soul of the country.
In an exclusive interview with Baptist Press about evangelicals' response to the spread of the disease in the U.S., Kay Warren said she believes Christians need to start by understanding that HIVAIDS is not a gay disease. She added that evangelicals should see homosexuals with HIV/AIDS for what they are -- an unreached people group who need to know God loves them.
Ten years ago, Warren would have been an unlikely principal for a discussion about AIDS in America. She was a Bible teacher and the wife of Rick Warren, who is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose Driven Life."
But Kay has emerged as a recognized leader in her own right for her efforts to marshal the church to engage in this ministry area because God cares for the sick and it is the only institution with the moral authority to effect the behavioral change needed to stop the spread of AIDS. She now is executive director of Saddleback Church's HIV/AIDS Initiative.
Warren's stance on ministry to those sick with AIDS was something of a journey for her.
"I sat for the first 20 years of this pandemic," she said, adding her typical reaction was something like, "[Y]ou know what? It's a white, gay man's disease and everybody knows how it's transmitted and so if you get sick, oh well. Don't come crying to me for sympathy."
She described her attitude then as harsh and judgmental: "You commit the crime, you pay the time."
About five years ago, God opened her heart to AIDS sufferers by appealing first to her compassion for African children orphaned by the disease. Through visits to Africa and seeing firsthand the devastation there, she eventually came to the place spiritually where she saw HIV/AIDS-infected homosexuals and intravenous drug abusers in a different way.
"[T]he church has the opportunity to reach into the communities of people that have typically stayed away," she said. "I really think of the gay community and the HIV community in the United States as, if you will, unreached people groups.
"And they're not going to come to us."
Warren said her attitude about homosexuality was an obstacle to ministering to hurting people.
"I actually felt that because of the way somebody might have gotten sick that eliminated my responsibility to care for them or to demonstrate compassion."
She added that to win anyone to Christ, you have to establish relationships.
"Five years ago, I couldn't even name anybody who was gay or lesbian, or if I did, they were people who would come to our church and we made them leave," she said. "Today, I have friends in the gay and lesbian community and in the context of relationship we talk about what the Bible says."
"I had a four-hour conversation a month ago with a young man who would identify himself as gay and Christian," she said, "a four-hour conversation of 'But what does the Bible say about this?' and 'How are you reconciling that with your faith?'"
From that kind of relationship, she added, a Christian can help someone with temptations admit, "This is where I'm struggling; this is where I'm hurting. Help me find God here. Help me find how to live my life in a way that pleases Him and yet deals with the fact that I'm a broken person."
"Our community of faith is supposed to be a place where the rock can be lifted and all those gross-looking bugs that are disgusting to look at and that shrivel in the light of exposure are dealt with ... and we can be fixed and can be sympathized with and can be given fellowship," Warren said.
Most importantly, she added, the church is the only institution that can make a difference.
"You know the government and business groups are trying to work in HIV," she said. "They can talk about it, but they have no moral authority whatsoever to talk about how people can change their behavior and protect themselves, and the church has that responsibility. Only the church has the moral authority to talk about behavior change."
Ministry to those with HIV/AIDS starts with the Bible, Warren said. They are desperate people who need Jesus Christ, and the way for them to know He cares is for us to care for them, she said. Outlining practical steps any church can take, she referred to the C.H.U.R.C.H. acrostic developed at Saddleback (for details see www.purposedriven.com/hiv):
-- Care for and support the sick
-- Handle testing and counseling
-- Unleash a volunteer labor force
-- Remove the stigma
-- Champion healthy behavior
-- Help with nutrition and medication.
Warren underscored that above all ministry must be personal. She noted that generosity with financial gifts is important, but it cannot substitute for direct involvement.
"I've grown up Southern Baptist, so I don't have any other experience other than that. I think I personally got caught in the idea that I was doing enough for those situations because I tithed ... and I knew that my church also tithed to the Cooperative Program," she said.
"We gave to Lottie Moon, we gave to Annie Armstrong," she continued, "and I think because I knew that I was giving in that way, and in my church and my denomination, I felt like I had done enough, but it wasn't personal.
"It was me giving money so that somebody else could do the work," Warren observed, "and I think what we're trying to say is that's not enough. God doesn't just want your money, He wants you. And when AIDS and poverty and disease and illiteracy and corruption and all those things become personal, suddenly you can't ignore it."
When asked whether there is a point at which ministry to homosexuals with HIV/AIDS stops because there has been no response to the Gospel, Warren replied, "Yeah, when they die."
"We teach people that up until the moment that somebody passes from this life to the next, there's a possibility of salvation. I mean, that's what we believe as Baptists. That until the moment a person passes from this life to the next ... that God is holding His hand out to them. His hand is extended to them until they leave this life. And if that's the way God is responding to broken, sinful people, how dare I do any less?"
Warren shared that, ultimately, evangelicals need to see the HIV/AIDS population in the U.S. with the same focus as overseas missions.
"God's message is the same. He doesn't adapt His message based on a people group. His message is the same," Warren said. "It's how we portray it. It's how we win their hearts.
"I have a friend, Chad Thompson, who has written a book called 'Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would' -- an excellent book that everyone should read -- and he makes a statement in there: 'Whoever loves them first, wins.'"
"Whether you're talking to the gay community, a people group in Sudan, it doesn't really matter where it is," she said. "The fact of the matter is whoever loves them first wins. We've gone about it in all the wrong ways. If we think we can bring people to Christ by shouting at them, by ... holding up placards, we're fooling ourselves.
"Whoever loves them first, wins."
Religious Leaders Must be at the Forefront. 29/11/07
Vatican City, 29 November 2007 – Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says religious leaders must be at the forefront of responding to HIV and AIDS.
In a statement to mark World AIDS Day, the Caritas President says that religious leaders can do this by helping to spread accurate information and promoting responsible behaviour to halt the spread of the virus.
Cardinal Rodriguez said, “I welcome the inspiration and motivation provided by the 2007 Worlds AIDS Day theme of ‘Take the Lead. Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’. Such leadership must be taken on all levels of society in order to respond justly and comprehensively to the global HIV pandemic.
“Religious leaders can, should, and do exercise a leadership role by facilitating accurate information and by promoting responsible behaviour to prevent the further spread of HIV, by giving leadership on providing health, social, and pastoral service to people affected by or vulnerable to the pandemic, and making tangible efforts to eliminate the irrational fear, stigma, and discrimination resulting from this global health challenge.
“I am pleased to note that 2007 marks the 20th year since Caritas made and has kept the promise to accompany the leadership of the Catholic Church in its comprehensive response to AIDS."
Progress has been made in recent years in tackling the global HIV crisis, including expanded access to treatment and increased funding and political will at national and international level. Still, the pandemic is outpacing the response.
UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 33.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV. In 2007, 2.5 million people – mainly from poorer countries – became infected with the virus, while 2.1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Caritas says religious leaders can play an important role, too, in demanding greater leadership, political action, and accountability from governments in making universal access to prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2010 a reality.
Faith-based organisations provide the majority of care to people living with HIV, as much as 70 percent in some sub-Saharan African countries. Over the years, Caritas has focused on building up the Catholic Church’s response by contributing technical expertise in the design of HIV programmes, training, research, advocacy, and information sharing on best practises, and by linking up this response across the international healthcare community.
Remarks in Observance of World AIDS Day by UN General Secretary Ban KI-Moon. 30/11/07
Thank you all for being here. Let me say a special thanks to St. Bartholomew's Church for welcoming us again this year, as well as all the organizers who have helped bring us together. And let me thank all the performers, who are giving so generously of their time and talent.
By coming out to mark World AIDS Day, you are all giving life to the theme of this year's observance -- leadership. Without leadership, we will never get ahead of the epidemic. For AIDS is a disease unlike any other.
AIDS is a social issue, a human rights issue, an economic issue. It targets young adults just as they should be contributing to economic development, intellectual growth, and bringing up children.
It is taking a disproportionate toll on women. It has made millions of children orphans. It does to society what HIV does to the human body -- reduces resilience and weakens capacity, hampers development and threatens stability.
This does not need to happen. We have the means to prevent young adults from becoming infected. We have the means to treat those who are infected. We have the means to provide care and support.
We have made tangible and remarkable progress on all these fronts. But we must do more. Although new data shows that global HIV prevalence has levelled off, the numbers are still staggering, and AIDS remains among the leading causes of death globally.
It is our crucial mission to ensure that everyone can access HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This includes all people -- wherever they live, whatever they do.
Overcoming stigma remains one of our biggest challenges. It is still the single biggest barrier to public action on AIDS. It is one of the reasons why the epidemic continues to wreak its devastation around the world
Today, I call for renewed leadership in eradicating stigma associated with HIV. I applaud the brave individuals who live openly with HIV, who advocate tirelessly for the rights of the HIV-positive, who educate others about AIDS.
One of my most moving experiences as Secretary-General has been my meetings with the UN's own group of HIV-positive staff, UN Plus. They are wonderfully courageous and motivated people. I am determined to make the UN a model workplace in embracing them, and all our staff living with HIV.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We all need to understand HIV and AIDS better. I have just come from an orientation session on HIV in the UN workplace, which I convened for all my senior managers. These sessions are now mandatory for all UN employees both at Headquarters and in the field. They help us know the facts about transmission, prevention, stigma and discrimination, care and treatment.
Today, I call for leadership among all Governments in fully understanding the epidemic -- so that resources go where they are most needed, and so that we keep investing in tools for prevention and treatment, including vaccines and microbicides.
And I call for leadership at all levels to scale up towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 -- as pledged by all Governments last year. We have only two years left until that target date. We need to show leadership now.
As Secretary General, I am determined to lead the United Nations family -- in ensuring that we prioritize action on HIV/ AIDS, and in encouraging Member States to keep the issue high on national and international agendas.
Whatever our role in life, wherever we may live, in some way or another, we all live with HIV. We are all affected by it. We all need to take responsibility for the response.
On this World AIDS Day, let us show the leadership it takes to live up to our responsibility. Thank you very much.
Silence is Deadly in the Politics of AIDS. 30/11/07
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, caused quite a stir with the release of the latest figures describing the extent of the global AIDS epidemic. The report indicated UN scientists long have overestimated both the size and course of the AIDS epidemic.
According to new estimates, previous reports inflated information about new infections by as much as 70 percent, and overstated the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS by more than 20 percent.
The extent of the overestimations may have been unexpected. However, UNAIDS consistently has cautioned readers concerning the reliability of previous data, noting methodological limitations because of data collection impediments within certain global regions and populations.
Regardless, the epidemic is real and the worldwide impact is devastating.
The real news is that UNAIDS silenced information in the report, omitting any mention that abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage are the two biggest factors in reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
In previous reports abstinence and fidelity at least were key discussion points. Indeed, in 2006 both were primary components of the United Nation's plan for comprehensive HIV prevention:
"Behavioural aims for HIV prevention include: abstinence and delayed sexual debut for young people; monogamy within relationships; reduction in the number of partners; and correct and consistent condom use."
Moreover, the 2006 report credited "delayed sexual debut in Zimbabwe" and "monogamy in Uganda" -- A & B (Abstinence, Be faithful) of the ABC method -- for lowering HIV incidence in those countries.
By contrast there is not a single mention of either abstinence or fidelity in the 2007 report -- not one. There is not even a reference to the ABC method, although condoms are singled out for largely positive comment throughout the 50 pages or so of data and discussion.
And the United Nations' omissions are potentially disastrous.
This is not an exaggerated claim, but a reasonable conclusion given previous statements by epidemiologists and AIDS researchers -- experts in the field, not activists for abstinence.
In 2005, Harvard professor Edward C. Green spoke out to Citizen magazine about suppression of a report he wrote for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He discovered that by 1995, 95 percent of Ugandans ages 15 to 49 were practicing abstinence or monogamy while just 6 percent of the population was using condoms. Such behavior change led to a drastic drop in infection rates -- from 30 percent of Ugandans to about 5 percent -- in a decade.
"You cannot show that more condoms have led to less AIDS in Africa," he said.
In the same article, Rand Stoneburner, an epidemiologist who has studied the pattern of AIDS during the past 20 years for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said millions of lives are at stake because of politics.
"Data that could save lives is being ignored -- at the cost of millions of lives," he said then. "That's a great abuse of human rights because you would have saved 3 to 5 million lives if the ABC data was recognized and used years earlier."
Now, UNAIDS is repeating USAID's mistake and the consequences loom catastrophic.
Both Green and Stoneburner have argued the solution to reduce if not eliminate HIV/AIDS globally already is in hand.
"The biomedical vaccines we talk about for AIDS have been 10 years away for 20 years," Green told Baptist Press previously. "They're still far away, and no one is expecting such a vaccine to be more than about 35 or 40 percent effective when and if we get one."
"But as Stoneburner has been saying, we already have a social vaccine promoting partner reductions, fidelity, monogamy, abstinence."
The United Nations' silence on abstinence and marital fidelity is deafening. Given the stakes, unfortunately the silence could be deadly.
LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)--"Claire" was 15 years old when she met John Thomas, pastor of Fish Hoek Baptist Church in Cape Town, South Africa. Claire also was pregnant, and living with HIV.
When Claire was around 12 years old, she realized she probably had a 50 percent chance of graduating from high school. If she finished school, she then would have a 50 percent chance of finding a job. Realistically, the most she could hope for was to work as a domestic servant a couple days a week. She was certain that she would spend the rest of her life calling a crude shack her home.
"I decided to have as much sex as possible, to have as much fun as possible. And hopefully I would get HIV and hopefully I would be dead by the time I was 20 so that I would not have to live a life of poverty," she said.
When she met Thomas, she told him that her life was "on track" with that plan.
Claire helped Thomas understand the whole of a person's spiritual needs. Though Claire needed to hear and embrace the Gospel, she also needed someone to help her in very practical ways through the hard facts of her life.
"I am an evangelical to my back teeth," Thomas said. "For many years I thought Jesus wanted me to save souls. And then I discovered Jesus wanted me to save people. There's a whole lot more than getting them to pray a little prayer."
Thomas has learned just how much more since 1999, when his church began addressing HIV/AIDS. It was that year that he learned a statistic that changed the course of his life: 17 percent of the people in an area just a mile from his church building were HIV positive.
Thomas pictured himself on Judgment Day, facing God and saying: "Well, we had lovely Christian fellowship, but sorry, God, we had no time to reach those who needed Christ as Savior, and who were dying from this terrible, terrible disease."
Thomas knew his congregation had to respond, but they had few resources and Thomas knew very little about AIDS. God's resources were abundant, though, and soon Living Hope -- the HIV/AIDS ministry of Fish Hoek Baptist Church -- was founded.
While the church itself has only four pastors and 800 regular attenders, the Living Hope HIV ministry employs 160 full-time staff members in five locations around Cape Town. In 2006 Living Hope served 7,619 individuals.
"As far as we know, we are the largest local church response in South Africa, and therefore probably in Africa, and therefore probably in the world," Thomas said.
The ministry does HIV prevention work and palliative care, which means managing patients from the moment of HIV diagnosis to death -- though, thanks to antiretroviral drugs, an HIV diagnosis is no longer an automatic death sentence.
Living Hope has support groups, a clinic where people can get antiretroviral drugs, and a home-based care division with 40 caregivers overseen by several registered nurses. More than 30 people staff a 20-bed hospice with state-of-the-art equipment.
People living with HIV work as support people alongside counselors in the health clinics. When people learn they're HIV-positive, those support people invite them to attend support groups in local homes.
"We have seen so many people empowered with information that we give them," Thomas said. "They become advocates in the community to pass on good healthy lifestyles. That's where we can spread the Gospel."
In Living Hope's afternoon clubs for children and in local classrooms, children learn life skills and biblically based morals through games and stories.
Recently in an afternoon club, 19 of around 80 children gave their lives to Jesus. Now they meet with Living Hope leaders every week for discipleship.
Living Hope also sponsors health days at local companies and shopping malls, where people can have their blood pressure taken and be tested for things like diabetes, pregnancy and HIV. Educators give health talks, and people who are HIV-positive share their testimonies.
"At every angle we seek to tell people about Jesus and how He can help them in whatever situation they're in," said Thomas's wife, Avril.
Local government leaders have been so impressed by Living Hope that they've appointed it the official non-profit through which they do HIV/AIDS home-based care and palliative care. Living Hope recently took on the responsibility for all HIV/AIDS testing in the area, and every health clinic and government hospital in the area includes Living Hope staff.
"It's a case of the local church supporting the government in its endeavors in HIV/AIDS," Thomas said.
The Kingdom of God has grown significantly through Living Hope.
Thomas said his church has no need to think of catchphrases to share the Gospel. Instead, his church members live the Gospel Monday through Saturday as they minister to their community and lead people to the Lord.
"When you've helped a person who is HIV-positive, they're very interested in your Jesus," Thomas said. "They say, 'Tell me about this Jesus, the One that I've seen. I want to know about Him.'"
It's not just the community that is changing. Thomas has changed a lot through HIV ministry too.
When Thomas began caring about AIDS, he studied Jesus' ministry. He read repeatedly about Jesus feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and giving drink to people who were thirsty.
"As a Baptist, I did not fully understand Jesus' mandate to the poor," he said. "The more I've studied Scripture, the more I've become convinced that God has given the mandate to the local church and at our peril we ignore it."
Thomas has heard that AIDS is the greatest catastrophe of human history.
"If it's correct that it's the greatest catastrophe of human history, then it's also correct to say that it's the greatest opportunity the church has ever had in human history," Thomas said.
"Although I believe in the eternal security of believers, Matthew 25 makes me wonder whether the Lord will say to some people, 'You had the greatest opportunity of human history around you; you did nothing about it. Depart from Me. I never knew you.'"
Thomas hopes churches will fulfill their biblical mandate and awaken to the opportunities God has given them.
"When you do the deeds of the Christian faith, evangelism follows very easily. People just ask questions, and they want to know about this Jesus," Thomas said. "I do believe in God's works, and God's works bring about salvation."
Manda Gibson is a writer for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/07
Leadership Stop AIDS – Keep the Promise. World AIDS Day 2007
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches December 2007
The World AIDS Campaign chose "Leadership" as the theme for World AIDS Day 2007 and 2008. This theme will continue to be promoted with the campaigning slogan, "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." “Leadership” as a theme replaces the 2006 theme of “Accountability.” The World AIDS Campaign hopes that making leadership the theme of the next two World AIDS Days will help encourage leadership on AIDS within all levels of society and inspire and foster champions with a range of different groups and networks at local and international levels. Faith-based organisations will have a special responsibility to encourage and highlight religious leadership in the response to HIV/AIDS
As usual, CARIS and CABSA will bring together as wide a selection of worship materials as we can find. If you or your church developed any material you would like to share with others, please let Lyn know
- The United Ministry for Service and Witness of the Dutch Reformed Church family (in collaboration with CABSA) provided liturgical guidelines and suggestions in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Sotho. Download PDFs below.
- World Vision has a special campaign and vigil “World AIDS Day: 6,000 Reasons to Act” commemorating children orphaned by HIV related conditions. Read more about the campaign. A Pamphlet and Poster for the South African Vigil can be downloaded.
- Christian AID shared a service for World AIDS Day written by leading liturgist John L. Bell of the Iona Community called Flesh of our Flesh
- The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provided the following World AIDS Day Resources
- Catholic Relief Services World AIDS Day Resources can be downloaded
- The Salesians of South Africa developed Advent Homilies in Response to the HIV-AIDS Pandemic.
- The Presbyterian Church (USA) have AIDS Worship Materials available here
- The Fikelela AIDS Programme shared their material for WAD as well as for the Sixteen Days of Activism
- EFICOR (Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief) provides material in English and Hindi. More detail and documents from previous services can be found on their website.
- AIDS Survival Project - a call to worship on World AIDS Day is available online.
- This link provides a large body of worship resources related to HIV and AIDS from a variety of churches.
- The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared a special service that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent, plus ideas and other worship resources that can be adapted for other times. The service is available here in English.
- General Material from the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church is available here and material specifically focussing on WAD can be found here.
- Presbyterian World Service & Development helped support the production of resources developed to help Presbyterian congregations in Malawi focus on issues related to HIV/AIDS over five Sundays concluding Dec. 1.
- ‘Purpose Driven’ has nine suggestions for ways to increase HIV awareness and action in your church.
- "Advent in a Time of AIDS" Devotional Resource Now Available. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Rick and Kay Warren, Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, Sister Maria Cimperman and Erik Sawyer are some of the contributors to a stunning daily devotional calendar that invites reflection and prayer beginning on World AIDS Day, 1 December, through to 6 January. "Keep the Promise: Advent in a Time of AIDS" is produced by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and published by Augsburg Fortress Press. Print and electronic versions are now available.
Individuals and churches are encouraged to download copies (available in English,French and Spanish) and reproduce them for discussion groups or church communities as well as personal use. Single copies can be downloaded or ordered for free here.
Since 1988 World AIDS Day, December 1, has been the key moment in the year to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and be in solidarity with people living with or affected by HIV globally. Observance of this day provides an opportunity for governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations and individuals to demonstrate the importance of responding effectively to the HIV pandemic.
To celebrate the 2007 and 2008 World AIDS Day theme of leadership, the World AIDS Campaign calls upon individuals to sign on the Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge. The campaign asks individuals all over the world to show leadership to stop AIDS within their families, communities, and places of work and worship .
Pledges are being collected online, by mail and at events, and will be used to create exhibitions, banners and other visibility actions during major events in 2008. With a goal of at least 100,000 signees, these pledges will serve as a persuasive tool for leveraging greater political leadership on universal access to AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support and act as a visual example for key national and international decision-makers to follow.
What Can I Do?
Individuals, including people of faith, need to demonstrate leadership in the response to HIV and AIDS by making a Leadership Pledge and engaging in, and helping to make, World AIDS Day issues and events more visible. Use the simple online form to quickly and easily pledge your leadership now to stop AIDS. Visit the website.
Encourage your friends to also sign on to the Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge.
Add your World AIDS Day Event to the International Calendar:
30-second public service announcement video is available. For more information
Take the Lead on World AIDS Day 2007 16/10/2007
HIV and AIDS Campaign Press Release
16 October 2007
World AIDS day is celebrated every year on 1 December. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and people affected by HIV and AIDS. It is the one day in the year where issues surrounding HIV and AIDS can take center stage.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) strongly encourages you and your church to make the most of World AIDS Day 2007 by engaging in some form of worship, event, or advocacy focused on HIV and AIDS.
The focus overall theme of World AIDS Day 2007 (and 2008) is on leadership, under the slogan, continues to be "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."" which is the world-wide campaign until 2010 For 2007 the focus is on leadership. under the slogan "Take the Lead. Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."
During the past year there have been some encouraging advances in the global response to HIV and AIDS although we continue to fall far short in the resources and efforts needed to stop the spread of the disease. In the last month alone we have seen government world leaders at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in Berlin renew and make new commitments to fund HIV and AIDS care, treatment and prevention programs in countries that have insufficient resources. Similar commitment to respond to HIV and AIDS is reflected throughout the world in national and local initiatives, in churches and religious organizations and in civil society.
However, the greatest advances at any level have been made when there is strong and committed leadership. Leaders with vision, passion, and perseverance, who lead with personal engagement, inspire others to become engaged and make a huge difference in the response of communities to and are better example in the response to HIV and AIDS. This type of leader is not stuck in a government office; this type of leader is found in your homes, your churches, your schools, and your offices.
This year's theme of leadership encourages you to "Take the Lead" in responding to key issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. Issues such as stigma and discrimination; access to medicines; and better prevention, treatment, support and care. At home, in schools, at workplaces or worship spaces, you can "Take the Lead" in a compassionate, active and effective response to AIDS.
What can you do?
Find out what is happening in your local area to commemorate World AIDS Day 2007.
Encourage your church or organization to get involved, or why not use some of the ideas below to "Take the Lead" and organize an event in your local community!
Plan an ecumenical service for the Sunday before or after World AIDS Day, or on 1 December itself. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared a special service that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent, plus ideas and other worship resources that can be adapted for other times. The service is available here in English. French and Spanish versions will be available soon.
Use the World AIDS Campaign material, being sent to all EAA HIV and AIDS contact people, to prepare posters, messages, and other promotional material. World AIDS Day materials can also be downloaded from the World AIDS Campaign website.
Organize a prayer and discussion group based on Use the devotional calendar for the 2007 Advent, Christmas and Epiphany season on HIV and AIDS using the global campaign theme: "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." Devotions begin on World AIDS Day, 1 December and continue through 6 January. You can download the Calendar.
Take up the EAA Keep the Promise advocacy curriculum with young people and adults. Study the facts about HIV and AIDS and learn how campaigning can really make a difference in overcoming injustice. Out of your study and discussion, write letters to your national leaders asking them to "take the lead" in keeping the promises they have made and do more to meet the promise of universal access to treatment by 2010. The updated curriculum is available here in English, Spanish, and, French and German, Portuguese and Russian. Visit the EAA's website for more study and action ideas.
Add your event to the list of events taking place all over the world here
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see their website
Leadership Chosen as Theme for World AIDS Day. 05/03/07
05 Mar 2007 – 15:55
“Leadership” will be the theme for the 2007 and 2008 World AIDS Day, the World AIDS Campaign announced today. Promoted with the slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”, which is the World AIDS Campaign emphasis from 2005-2010, “leadership” will build on the 2006 World AIDS Day focus on accountability. World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1 December each year.
The theme for World AIDS Day has been determined by the World AIDS Campaign since 1997. The Global Steering Committee (GSC) of the World AIDS Campaign selected the theme of leadership during their meeting held in Geneva , 8-9 February 2007, agreeing to launch the theme in the first week of March.
Some statements on what leadership means to some of the GSC members who represent important stakeholders in the response to HIV and AIDS:
Linda Hartke, Coordinator, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance: “Leadership can imply the power and authority to make a difference, to lead by action and example. In many faith contexts, though, a leader is a servant - ­ someone who responds to the needs of the community, supports others in their planning and action, and empowers people by both words and resources. By taking on the global theme of leadership for World AIDS Day, faith leaders and the communities they are a part of can help articulate a vision, build relationships and take concrete action in solidarity with all people committed to reaching universal access for HIV prevention, treatment and care.”
Deloris Dockrey, Chairperson, Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS and representative for International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS: “We are still dying! Leadership requires that we face this reality. While leadership is a strong call and can easily be embraced, I have been very disappointed with our leaders. While scaling up of HIV care is prioritised, it is under funded and poorly implemented. Faith leaders continue to deny the existence of HIV/AIDS in the communities and congregations they serve. Governments are complacent, and have not provided the leadership needed to end the epidemic.”
Alan Leather, Chairperson, Global Unions Programme on HIV/AIDS: “Trade unions are mass membership organisations with leaders at global, national and community levels. Labour leaders have mobilised their networks, integrated AIDS in their programmes, defended the rights of workers with HIV, encouraged voluntary testing, and promoted workplace action. Union advocacy and leadership is crucial if countries are to achieve universal access to treatment, care and prevention by 2010."
Mabel Bianco, Coordinator, International Women’s AIDS Caucus and President, FEIM: “All gender and women related issues in the context of HIV/AIDS are inter-connected and inter-linked. Thus we recognise that all forms of leadership must be included in responses to HIV/AIDS. Women’s movements and NGOs, particularly organisations and networks of people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as grassroots organisations, have played imperative roles in demonstrating important and effective leaderships in prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic.”
Prateek Suman, Youth Coalition: ”Young people are the worst hit by HIV/AIDS but they also have a vital role to play in the fight against the pandemic. Youth leadership is essential to an effective international response to HIV/AIDS and young people must be empowered with the knowledge, skills and resources they need in order to achieve the goal of universal access by 2010.”
The original release of the theme and background information is available below.
Various church leaders made statements on or for World AIDS Day 2006. Read more here.
Ecumenical Advocay Alliance. This service puts together the Advent texts in the common lectionary, Year C, with the theme, “Keep the Promise.” This follows the campaigns of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) and the World AIDS Campaign and the theme of accountability for World AIDS Day 2006. Download in word or pdf. A wide variety of resources is availabe from their website
Christian Aid provides guidelines for a church service for World AIDS Day with the theme “Flesh of our Flesh”, by John Bell, which can be found here.
Download the message of Archbishop Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore and New Delhi Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India below.
Church of Scotland. This special edition is designed to help you and your congregation:
• respond to General Assembly’s call to all Christians in Scotland to work to overcome ignorance and prejudice about people living with HIV wherever they may be
• prepare for World AIDS Day (1 December) – a supplement contains an outline for a service on 26 November or 3 December
• share in the Faithshare visit of Patricia Sawo from ANERELA+ – the African Network of Religious Leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS
The story of World AIDS day started around 1988. In 1997 UNAIDS recognised the need to deliver a global message on AIDS with one voice. World AIDS Campaign was initiated to become the year round voice. Ever since, the Campaign has acted as the global driving force to inform communities about critical issues.
From 1996 to 2004 various themes were recommended for World AIDS Day. Since 2005, the focus has been on: STOP AIDS! Keep the promise. The argument for this focus is that through the years so many promises have been made from the highest levels to individuals, but too many of these promises have come to nothing. This is the reason for the challenge to deliver what has been promised.
General information about World AIDS Day can be found here.
GUIDELINES FOR A CHURCH SERVICE WITH REFERENCE TO WORLD AIDS DAY
REMEMBER: People living with HIV are not “infested”, nor are they “sufferers”. Be careful when speaking of “infected”. Do not refer to them as “the sinners”, the “unbelievers” or “those outside the congregation”, but rather use inclusive language. Discipline yourself to speak of “people living with or otherwise directly affected by HIV and AIDS”.
NB: The idea is not that you should use all elements that are provided here. Select those elements that will serve the context and situation of the congregation.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing our praises.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Zion.
(Psalm 84:1-7 New Living Translation)
In the Name of God, our Father, Jesus, our Saviour and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter –
You are most welcome in this gathering of God’s people!
You are welcome just as you are –
With your gladness or your sadness
With your fears and yearnings
With whatever emotions HIV and AIDS awaken in your heart today –
You are welcome!
Be at home in the presence of our God of love.
Grace be with you, mercy and peace, from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and charity (2 John 1:3).
LIGHTING OF A CANDLE
[Arrange beforehand that someone will come forward to light the candle or invite a volunteer from those present to come forward. The symbolism of the candle will be strengthened if it carries a prominent AIDS ribbon.]
Before the candle is lit it may be pointed out that the symbol of the candle reminds us of the light of Christ that came into our world. The Word of God is also like a light. Christ called his disciples to be the light of the world. Although HIV and AIDS may seem like a dark cloud that brings darkness into the lives of individuals and into communities, the light of Christ will continue to shine even here.
PRAYER AT THE LIGHTING OF THE CANDLE
Holy God, hear our cry.
If we are without hope,
Weighed down and affected by HIV and AIDS,
Prone to stigma and discrimination,
Hear us and help us.
Holy Creator, hear our cry
When we ignore visions to combat HIV and AIDS
Pass by widows and orphans,
Preach doom and destruction,
Hear us and help us.
All praise and honour be yours,
Lord of wondrous works.
While we were yet sinners,
You sacrificed your only begotten son
Jesus Christ, to atone for our arrogance and disobedience.
By your might, you raised Him from the dead.
That we may have life, and have it abundantly.
You delivered him from the jaws of death,
That we may have hope, and live obediently.
Because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow.
We are comforted and empowered.
May the Holy Spirit minister to us.
May the empty tomb generate confidence in us,
To recognise that this life triumphs over death.
Strengthen us to walk in your holy path,
To the glory of your name.
(Assembled from 2 prayers in AfricaPraying, Edited by Musa W Dube. Pages 110 and 76)
HYMN OR SONG:
[Chose a hymn or song that praises the love of God or sings about Christ as the light of the world or the Word as our light.]
“OUR CONGREGATION(S)/ CHURCH AND WORLD AIDS DAY”
The theme of World AIDS Day is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise". This theme challenges us regarding our accountability.
The question is: what have we done about our promises as individuals, congregations and as a church?
[Many churches have made statements in relation to HIV and AIDS. At this point there can be some reflection on the statement of your church. If possible, copies of the statement can be handed out to the congregants – or even before or after the service. ]
Read a few abstracts from the statement and ask: “What have we as church, as congregation and as individual members done about our declarations and promises?”
Give a minute to reflect.
[The following prayer should preferably be prayed by the whole congregation. If this is not possible, arrange with a member to prepare to pray it beforehand.]
O Lord, our covenant God
Today we stand before You as the God of faithful love, confirmed by your covenants.
Thank you for your covenant with Abraham.
Thank you for your new covenant through your Son, Jesus Christ
- You have put your law within us, you have written it upon our hearts
- You have sprinkled clean water upon us
- You have taken our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh
- You have given your Spirit within us, and caused us to be careful to observe your ordinances
- You are our God and we are your people
We confess that we have sinned against your covenant
- we forget your words of love
- often our hearts are still hard towards our neighbours
- we live as we want to.
We confess that we make promises and then break them again.
Forgive us. For in this way we hurt our brothers and sisters who are living with HIV.
Give us hearts of flesh!
Pour your Spirit into us that we may live according to your will.
We pray this in the Name of Jesus, our Saviour.
(Prayer with reference to Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Ezekiel 36:24-28)
HYMN OR SONG:
[Choose a hymn of song that reflects a spirit of contrition.]
A short prayer before reading the Scripture
12. While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." 13. And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him. 14. And he charged him to tell no one; but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." 15. But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. 16. But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
[This is not a complete sermon. It needs to be adapted to the specific congregation.]
We often hear that people compare AIDS as we know it today with leprosy as it was known in the times of the Old and New Testament. We know that in the times of the Old and New Testament people with leprosy were forced out of their communities. They had to live outside the villages and could no longer partake in social activities. The sad stories we nowadays often hear are that, when it becomes known that someone is living with HIV or that a person who is sick has AIDS, that person is pushed away. Sometimes this is done openly and sometimes in more subtle ways.
It is important to note that there are significant differences between HIV and AIDS and leprosy. In the Old Testament one finds regulations about leprosy including that someone with leprosy should be excluded from normal social contact. This was meant as a preventative measure. In those days people believed that leprosy was highly contagious and could be transmitted quite easily. I can imagine that these beliefs resulted in very strict and loveless actions against lepers.
HIV and AIDS is a different story. It cannot be transmitted through normal social contact. And there are no laws that prescribe that people living with HIV should be shunned.
But it still happens that people living with HIV and AIDS are avoided, ignored and even rejected. There are many reasons for these actions, for instance: fear, ignorance, prejudice and the inability to be there for someone in need. You will agree that these reasons are all rather poor excuses.
When we read the story of Luke 5:12-16, we can’t help being amazed at some elements in this story. This response should help us to prayerfully consider our calling in this time of HIV and AIDS.
The first element that we notice is that Jesus is merciful towards this leper. Jesus says to him, “I want you to be clean and healthy!” We know that for Jesus, the great Healer, the Son of God, healing is a different matter than for us. He could heal the sick man in an instant. For us healing is a complex process. It involves prayer, medication, personal care, spiritual care and reconciliation. In spite of this, we can, like Jesus, be positive about healing and health. God loves us as human beings, as beings with bodies of flesh and blood.
The second element we see in this story, is that Jesus touches the leper. By doing this Jesus breaks two rules. He breaks the rules prescribed by Moses as it was interpreted in those days. And He also breaks the rules that were prescribed by society. According to these rules you were not even allowed near a leper.
The spectators of this miracle healing must have been astonished and even shocked. What no-one dared to do, Jesus does. He actually touches the leper. And I do not think He touched him with his little finger. He must have put both his hands on him.
Now, I do not think that Jesus did this to say to the crowd: “Look – I will not catch leprosy.” I believe Jesus touched the leper because He knew that this man was feeling isolated and lonely because of his sickness. In his heart, he was longing for the touch of another human being. In this situation where someone had been rejected from the community, Jesus demonstrates God’s love. He touches the leper.
The third element of the story that amazes me is that Jesus sent the healed leper to the priest. Why did Jesus do this? It cannot be that Jesus wants to “show off” his ability to heal to the priests. In the same verse we read that Jesus ordered the healed leper not to tell everyone about the miracle, so there must be a good reason why Jesus sent him to the priest.
We find the answer to this question in verse 14b: “for a proof to the people”. The healed leper had to go to the priest so that his people could be assured that he is healed and clean and that he can be reconciled with them. Jesus sent this man to the priest to be reconciled with God through the prescribed offerings, and with his community through the declaration of the priest.
Is it not amazing that Jesus did much more for this leper than he asked from Him in the first place? He asked for physical healing. Jesus healed him, but He also restored him in his community and reconciled him with his congregation.
What about us?
How tragic it is that so many stories told in this time of HIV and AIDS are about rejection! How sad that many of these stories are also about rejection by Christians and by congregations!
The story of Luke 5 should at least make us sensitive towards our neighbour’s needs of healing, acceptance and social and physical contact. It is not a question of only one of these needs. They are all important needs and HIV cannot draw a line through those needs.
The love of Christ embraces our whole physical being.
HIV and AIDS threatens our humanness on many facets, but the reconciliation of Christ restores our entire human life.
[This can be a spontaneous prayer by the preacher or congregant, or the following prayer can be used.]
In this time of HIV and AIDS we call upon your name -
It is so easy to think that we are invincible,
But we have learned that we are vulnerable.
We pray for your fatherly protection and care.
Jesus, our Saviour
In the midst of the AIDS pandemic we pray to you -
We often feel like sheep without a shepherd.
Lead us though this dark valley.
Bring us into your presence
To be restored and saved.
Spirit of God, our comforter
We have been struggling against HIV and AIDS for years –
We now know that we need your wisdom
We pray for your wisdom
for our government – for wisdom in every decision
for all organisations in the AIDS field – to serve with wisdom
for all medical professionals – give them wisdom to find medical solutions
for all caregivers – for wisdom in their loving care
for young people – give them wisdom to act responsibly
for Christians – for wisdom to be light and salt in this world of ours
We pray for your church, for ourselves – to be involved in the AIDS pandemic with wisdom.
HYMN OR SONG:
[Choose a hymn of song that reflects an attitude of commitment to follow Christ.]
PERSONAL STORY OF HIV AND/OR AIDS
If someone living with or directly affected by HIV and AIDS is willing to share their story, it will bring the reality of the pandemic to heart. Be careful to do this in a sensitive way, as indifference may have negative outcomes. The person may be hurt or the situation may reinforce wrong attitudes.
Please arrange this ahead of time and ensure before the meeting that the person is emotionally and spiritually prepared.
Do not announce the person as “an HIV+ person” or “someone who has lost a family member to AIDS”. Just say the person will share his/her story, and then let him/her tell it in his/her own words.
(Adapted from a pledge that was used at the launch of the video: The URCSA Cares)
Leader: In thankfulness we commit ourselves to be a caring, justice-seeking, nurturing community.
Congregation. We covenant together in commitment to God and one another.
Leader: As God loves us and cares for us, we too, will be a caring community.
Congregation. We welcome into our community and into our church all persons whose lives have been touched by HIV-infection and living with HIV. We say to all:
As God welcomes us into God's covenant, you are welcome in our congregation.
Leader: We will be a justice seeking community.
Congregation. As a congregation, we will oppose all forms of discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.
Leader: We will be a nurturing community.
Congregation. We will care for one another and love one another as God has loved us in Jesus Christ. We will pray for the healing of God's creation. We will be Christ's presence in each other's lives, especially in the lives of those living with HIV and AIDS. We will be witnesses to God's unconditional love.
Leader: Through Christ's example we are made stronger in faith, finer and gentler in spirit.
Congregation. Through Christ the Saviour and the power of the Holy Spirit and God's goodness and grace, we are set free to love, serve, witness and care, unconditionally.
Leader: Let us now affirm together, as people of God, a covenant to care.
Congregation. As members of the body of Christ, we covenant together in the Name of God, to assure people living with HIV and AIDS that they will never be destitute of our Christian love, care and compassion. We invoke for ourselves Christ's words in Matthew: 25: "I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was sick and you visited me." We will make true our confession: We must stand where God stands.
Leader: Go and follow Christ!
One of the congregants comes forward and takes the burning candle. This person leads the way to the door, symbolising that the congregation takes the light of Christ to the world. The congregation follows.
Voorstelle vir Erediens 2006
RIGLYNE VIR VIGS HERDENKINGSONDAG 21 MEI 2006
Vigsherdenkingsondag (AIDS Memorial Day of AMD – ook “International AIDS Candlelight Memorial” genoem) is waarskynlik minder bekend as Wêreldvigsdag (1 Desember). Tog het Vigsherdenkingsondag vroeër ontstaan. Die eerste geleentheid was in 1983. Van die begin was dit 'n geleentheid waarby kerke direk betrokke was. Vandag word die inisiatief deur die “Global Health Council” gedryf. Inligting kan op die internet gevind word. Vigsherdenkingssondag vind wêreldwyd op die 3de Sondag van Mei plaas. Die tema wat vir hierdie jaar is: “Lighting the Path to a Brighter Future”.
Omdat dit 'n geleentheid is wat sy ontstaan in 'n kerk gehad het, is dit by uitstek 'n dag waarby kerke en gemeentes kan aansluit. Die gedagte dat daar op hierdie dag “kerse vir persone wat oorlede is” aangesteek moet word, mag vir sommige Christene vreemd wees. Dit gaan egter om veel meer as die “aansteek van kerse”. Dis 'n geleentheid wat alle Christene kan gebruik om prakties te demonstreer dat ons almal deur die vigspandemie geaffekteer word. “As een lid ly, ly al die lede saam; en as een lid geëer word, is al die lede saam bly” (1 Kor 12:26).
Vigsherdenkingsondag vestig ons aandag op die werklikheid dat ons in vigs te make het met ’n pandemie wat mense se lewens kortknip. Om aan 'n vigsverwante siekte te sterf, het vir baie beteken dat hulle deur hulle gemeenskap (soms selfs familie!) verstoot is. Dit gebeur nog steeds! Daarom is dit nodig dat hulle wat so gesterf het, se volle menswaardigheid erken word.
Vigsherdenkingsondag sal vir Christene wat die Vader van Jesus Christus ken, méér wees as ’n dag van herinneringe aan oorledenes. Vir ons sal daar ook herinneringe wees van verlossing, aan troos en genesing. Vir volgelinge van Jesus Christus sal hierdie dag ook in die teken van hoop staan. Vigsherdenkingsondag vind juis op 'n Sondag plaas – dié dag van die week wat vertel dat dat ons Here, Jesus Christus, leef! Hierdie jaar (2006) vind dit op die sesde Sondag in Paastyd plaas. Daarom kan daar binne die konteks van Jesus se oorwinning oor die dood aandag gegee word aan die “skaduwee van die dood” wat die vigspandemie oor ons land en gemeenskap laat val.
Die wenke wat hier volg, is deur die Uitvoerende Komitee van die Vigstaakgroep van die Gekombineerde Kommissie vir Diakonaat van die NG Kerk (Wes- en Suid-Kaap) en die VG Kerk (Kaapland) in samewerking met die Vigsburo (projek van die Hugenote Kollege) byeengebing. Hiermee wil ons graag verskeie moontlikhede voorstel sodat gemeentes op 'n sinvolle manier op hierdie dag aan MIV en vigs kan aandag gee. Die riglyne is nie 'n volledige erediens nie, maar dien as hulp vir die beplanning van 'n erediens. Meer inligting oor MIV en vigs (sowel as Engelse riglyne) kan van die Vigsburo verkry word op die webblad of by die kantoor by (021) 873 0028 te skakel of per epos.
Onthou: Iemand wat met MIV leef, is nie “besmet” nie, is nie 'n “slagoffer” nie, is nie “’n groot sondaar” nie, is nie “ongelowig” nie. Vermy om te praat van 'n “vigslyer” of “mense het vigs”. Praat liewer deurlopend van “mense wat met MIV leef”.
1.WENKE VIR VOORBEREIDING EN DIE INKLEDING VAN DIE LITURGIESE RUIMTE
Reël vooraf met die kategeseklasse dat elke klas een of meer plakkate maak (A3 of groter) met die volgende boodskappe op (een boodskap per plakkaat, maar daar kan maar meer as een van dieselfde plakkaat wees):
o DIE WêRELD HET VIGS!
o AFRIKA HET VIGS!
o SUID-AFRIKA HET VIGS!
o HET DIE KERK VIGS?
o HET ONS GEMEENTE VIGS?
o DIE KERK HET VIGS!
o ONS GEMEENTE HET VIGS!
o “ DRA MEKAAR SE LASTE...” (Galasiërs 6:2a)
o “AS EEN LID LY, LY AL DIE LEDE SAAM...” (1 Korinte 12:26a)
o “VIR SOVER JULLE DIT AAN EEN VAN DIE GERINGSTE VAN HIERDIE BROEDERS VAN MY GEDOEN HET, HET JULLE DIT AAN MY GEDOEN.” (Matteus 25:40)
o “HERE, WANNEER HET ONS U HONGER GESIEN EN U GEVOED, OF DORS, EN U IETS GEGEE OM TE DRINK?” (Matteus 25:37)
Maak ook ‘n paar plakkate met van die jongste vigsstatistiek wat elders in hierdie dokument verskaf word.
Die geleentheid wanneer die plakkate gemaak word (die vorige Sondag), kan natuurlik ook deur die onderskeie kategete gebruik word om met hulle klassies oor die vigspandemie en die kerk / gelowiges se reaksie daarop te gesels.
Reël dat die kategeseklasse hulle plakkate vóór die erediens op die 21ste Mei in die kerkgebou opplak. Hulle sou ook voor die diens voor die kerkdeure met die plakkate kon rondstaan soos in 'n soort vreedsame “betoging”. Die inligting op die plakkate moet die gemeente reeds by voorbaat aanspreek en laat nadink: Het die kerk ook vigs? Kan ons onsself van die pandemie distansieer?
Die volgende “kersseremonie” kan gebruik word om aan die tema van vanjaar, “Lighting the Path to a Brighter Future”, 'n Bybelse inkleding te gee. Die kersaansteekseremonie kan ook deur 'n kategeseklas gedoen word. Dis dalk 'n goeie idee om die finalejaarklas hiervoor te gebruik. Dit gee geleentheid om die saak die vorige Sondag met hulle te bespreek en dit in te oefen.
Om die gemeente te help om die “seremonie” beter te verstaan, kan die volgende verhaal kortliks vertel word:
“'n Sekere man het 'n kerkdiens in 'n groot kerkgebou bygewoon. Terwyl hy in die kerk sit, het hy opgelet dat daar pragtige vensters met gekleurde klas was. Die vensters het verskillende prente en temas uitgebeeld. Aan die een kant was daar drie vensters wat geloof, hoop en liefde uitgebeeld het. Die son het deur die vensters geskyn en die prente verlig. Die man het opgelet dat die prente in die volgorde van links na regs eers geloof, dan hoop en dan liefde uitgebeeld het.
Die aand van dieselfde dag het die man verby dieselfde kerk gery. Daar was 'n diens in die kerk en die ligte van die kerk was aan. Weer is die man deur die pragtige vensters getref. Dit val hom toe op dat die lig wat van binne die vensters verlig het, vir hom wat buite was, die volgorde omgekeer het. Nou was dit van links na regs eers liefde, dan hoop en dan geloof. Toe besef hy: mense wat nie vir Christus persoonlik ken nie, het dikwels eers nodig om sy liefde te ondervind voordat hulle hoop en geloof kan vind.” (Bron onbekend)
Kersseremonie* : lig te midde van die vigspandemie!
*Hierdie kersseremonie is oorspronklik deur Logy Murray ontwikkel en is vir hierdie riglyne aangepas.
Daar moet VIER kerse wees wat reeds brand. Een moet ’n groot wit kers wees, wat die Christus-kers voorstel, en eenkant staan. Die ander drie kerse het vigsstrikkies op, en die volgende woorde kan op elke kers (of daar voor) aangebring word: Geloof; Hoop; Liefde. Die kerse word so opgestel dat die mense wat daarna kyk dit van links na regs in die volgorde sien: Christus kers, geloof, hoop, liefde.
U het ook ’n vyfde, kleiner kers nodig, wat gebruik word om die kerse weer aan te steek.
Die voorstelling word deur vyf persone hanteer. :
’n Verteller, drie persone wat die boodskap van die verskillende kerse oordra, en ’n kind.
Verteller: (die persoon kan eenkant staan)
Hier is vier kerse wat brand en wat elkeen 'n storie vertel:
Die groot kers vertel van die lig van Jesus Christus. Volgens Johannes 8 vers 12 het Jesus gesê: “Ek is die lig vir die wêreld. Wie My volg, sal nooit in die duisternis lewe nie, maar sal die lig hê wat lewe gee.”
Langs die Christuskers staan die kers van geloof in Jesus Christus. Jesus wat vir ons gesterf het – wat deur Sy dood vir ons met God versoen het. Jesus wat opgestaan het, sodat ons saam met Hom kan opstaan en ’n nuwe lewe leef.
Die kers van hoop vertel: Wanneer ons van harte glo dat Jesus ons verlos het, kan ons in hierdie stukkende wêreld met soveel hartseer steeds bly hoop.
Die kers van liefde vertel: ’n Mens wat deur geloof geanker is in Jesus se liefde, en daarom hoop in sy hart het, kan werklik liefhê. Liefde wat onvoorwaardelik iemand anders se belange bo jou eie stel.
Waar die lig van Christus, die lig van geloof, hoop en liefde skyn, sal daar vrede en vreugde wees. Baie verhale wat in hierdie tyd van MIV en vigs vertel word, vertel nie van lig nie, maar van duisternis. Kom ons luister verder:
Deelnemer 1 kom vorentoe en gaan staan by die eerste kers:
Hierdie kers stel liefde voor –
Maar so baie mense wat met MIV leef, ervaar nie liefde nie.
Ons praat so maklik neerhalend van “hulle”. Ons veroordeel. Dikwels wil ons eers weet hoe “hulle” die virus opgedoen het voordat ons sal help. Omdat ons nie Christus se liefde onvoorwaardelik leef nie, verdoof die lig van hierdie kers.
(maak die kers dood)
Deelnemer 2 kom vorentoe en staan by die tweede kers:
Hierdie kers stel hoop voor:
Vir so baie van ons het die situasie van MIV en vigs 'n hopelose situasie geword. Sommige van ons word oorweldig deur die omvang daarvan. Sommige van ons word oorweldig deur die aftakeling van ons gesondheid, deur mense se veroordeling en verwerping. Sommige word oorweldig deur hartseer, deur verwyte, deur magtelooseid. Vir baie van ons is daar duisternis waar die lig van hoop moes skyn.
(maak die tweede kers dood)
Deelnemer 3 – kom vorentoe en staan by die derde kers:
Hierdie kers stel geloof voor.
Die hartseer verhaal van die vigspandemie is dat vir sommige van ons ook hierdie lig verdoof. Sommige worstel met soveel emosies en krisisse dat ons geloof wankel. Dan sien ons so baie mense wat gelowiges is, en wat ons tog verwerp, en dan kan ons nie meer glo nie.
(maak die derde kers dood)
'n Kind kom vorentoe, staan by die voorleser en vra:
Gaan ons dan nie weer die kerse kan aansteek nie?
Sien jy, hier is nog ’n kers. Hierdie kers noem ons die “Christus” kers. Ons lees mos in die Bybel dat Jesus die lig van die wêreld is, en God se kinders ook die lig vir die wêreld kan wees.
Kom, neem hierdie kers, steek dit aan by die “Christus” kers, en dan steek jy die ander kerse weer aan.
(Die kind moet vooraf gewys word wat die volgorde van aansteek is!)
(Kind neem die kleiner kers, steek dit aan by die “Christus”-kers, en steek dan die ander kerse een vir een aan, soos wat die verteller voortgaan.
(terwyl die Liefde kers weer aangesteek word)
Die Woord van God sê in Romeine 5 vers 8: “Maar God bewys sy liefde vir ons juis hierin dat Christus vir ons gesterf het toe ons nog sondaars was.” en in Johannes 13 vers 34 is Jesus se woorde: “Ek gee julle ’n nuwe gebod: julle moet mekaar liefhê. Soos Ek julle liefhet, moet julle mekaar ook liefhê. As julle mekaar liefhet, sal almal weet dat julle dissipels van My is.”
Here, vergewe ons ons liefdelose optrede, ja ook ons onbetrokkenheid wat ook liefdeloosheid is. Help ons om die onvoorwaardelike liefde wat U vir ons het, teenoor almal uit te leef!
(terwyl die Hoop kers weer aangesteek word)
In Romeine 15 vers 13 staan: “Mag God, die bron van hoop, julle deur julle geloof met alle vreugde en vrede vervul, sodat julle hoop al hoe sterker kan word deur die krag van die Heilige Gees.”
Ja, Here, ons erken U as die bron van ware Hoop. Help ons om onder alle omstandighede met hoop te leef.
(terwyl die Geloof kers weer aangesteek word)
Volgens Matteus 5 vers 14 het Jesus, die ware Lig, vir sy dissipels gesê: “Julle is die lig vir die wêreld”.
Here, ons erken dat die ware lig wat ook in hierdie tyd van MIV en vigs skyn, die lig van Jesus Christus is. Help ons om deur ons geloof en hoop en liefde draers van U lig te wees.
NK Kerk liedboek 417: Jesus ons eer u
Of 449: Halleluja, ons loof u Heer
Of 190: Grote God aan u die Eer
VG Kerk Nuwe Sionsgesang 169: Sy Naam is wonderbaar
Of 342: Op Sondag kom ons saam
Of 123: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
4.DIE OMVANG VAN MIV EN VIGS
Die Wêreld het vigs:
Die getal mense wat wêreldwyd met MIV leef, was in 2005 'n beraamde 40 miljoen. Hiervan is byna 5 miljoen mense wat in hierdie jaar geïnfekteer is. In 2005 alleen is ongeveer 3 miljoen mense aan vigsverwante siektes oorlede wat die totaal vanaf 1981 na 25 miljoen sterftes opgestoot het.
Afrika het vigs:
In Afrika suid van die Sahara woon meer as 25 miljoen mense wat met MIV leef. Sterftes aan vigs toegeskryf was in 2005 2.4 miljoen mense terwyl meer as 3 miljoen mense in dié jaar geïnfekteer is.
Ons kerk het vigs:
Noukeurige ontleding van statistiek toon dat mense wat met MIV leef in alle groepe, en ook in alle kerkverbande voorkom. Die rede waarom ons nie MIV in ons gemeente “sien” nie, is nie omdat hier niemand is wat daarmee leef nie.
('Onlangse statistiek is op die webblad beskikbaar)
5.'n GEBED VIR VIGSHERDENKINGSONDAG
(Laat die gemeente NSG 325 / Lied 266 naslaan voordat tot gebed oorgegaan word. Die gebed is geskryf vir responsiewe deelname deur die gemeente, maar kan ook deur 'n enkele persoon of 'n groep voor-gebid word.)
Een: Saam met gelowiges oor die eeue, bid ons, Heer:
Almal: “U is ons Herder, ons kom niks kort nie.”
Een: En tog, Heer, is daar miljoene wêreldoor wat dit vandag weer wil hoor en wéét:
U géé rus, groen weivelde, vredewaters...
Hoor húlle gebede vandag,
En hoor ons as ons namens hulle voor U genadetroon kom kniel
En bid: gee nuwe krag.
Gee nuwe krag, ons Herder-Heer,
Aan elkeen wat leef met MIV of Vigs;
Aan elkeen wat dit saam met ‘n ander mens beleef;
Aan elkeen wat treur of afskeid neem van ‘n pa, ‘n ma, ‘n kind, ‘n vriend, ‘n dierbare, die lewe...
Aan elkeen wat deur hierdie pandemie in rou gedompel is.
Gee nuwe krag, ons Herder-Heer,
Aan elkeen wat aan so iemand se bestaan ‘n positiewe verskil probeer maak, omdat hulle omgee;
Aan elkeen wat soek na antwoorde en oplossings, omdat hulle omgee;
Aan elkeen wat leiding neem: politieke leiers, geestelike leiers, gesondheidsorgwerkers, vrywilligers, nie-regeringsorganisasies, navorsers... omdat hulle omgee...
Hoor elkeen wat vanoggend na U roep, na U soek, op U vertrou -
ook hulle wat deur omstandighede nie meer weet of hulle nog durf hoop nie!
Gee hoop, Heer, gee gelowige oë wat die Onsienlike sien.
Dankie, Heer, vir die hoop wat anti-retrovirale middels reeds vir baie mense gebring het.
Dankie vir elkeen wat toegang het tot hierdie lewensvernuwende medikasie.
Dankie vir elke baba van ‘n geïnfekteerde mamma wat vry van die virus gebore kan word.
Dankie vir elkeen wat meewerk om dit moontlik te maak.
Dankie vir elkeen wat hulle harte en hulle arms oopmaak vir weeskinders.
Dankie vir elkeen wat mense in hulle nood help versorg.
Dankie vir die baie programme wat deur vrywilligers bedryf word, om mense wat met die virus leef, se menswaardigheid te herstel, hulle hoop te gee, kosbare lewens te verryk.
Help ons almal saam sien hoedat U deur alles heen, ons tóg lei op die regte paaie, tot eer van u Naam!
Ons bid dat elkeen van die miljoene wat dit nodig het,
toegang tot anti-retrovirale middels mag kry – veral in Afrika met sy hartverskeurende armoede.
Ons bid dat regerings, nie-regeringsorganisasies en farmaseutiese maatskappye die middels bekostigbaar beskikbaar kan maak – veral vir die armstes, wat dit nie kan bekostig nie.
Ons bid vir die sukses van programme wat poog om die pandemie te stuit.
Ons bid vir mediese deurbrake.
En ons bid vir liefde:
Ons bid veral dat u kerk ‘n voorbeeld aan die wêreld mag stel, van ‘n omgewing sonder veroordeling en stigmatisering – mag u kerk toenemend die ruimte wees waar mense wat met MIV en vigs leef, veiligheid en geborgenheid ervaar.
Ons bid dat u kerk mag deel wees van die antwoorde en oplossings wat die mag van die pandemie sal kan breek.
Ons bid dat u kerk die geleenthede wat MIV en vigs ons gee, sal raaksien en aangryp,
om aan u liefde hande te gee, voete, ore, ‘n stem... wat omgee.
En ons bid , Heer: begin by ons – óns gesindheid, óns liefde, óns omgee.
Vul ons te midde van die neerdrukkende duisternis van hierdie pandemie, met die lig van u vrede wat wéét:
Almal: “Selfs al gaan ek deur donker dieptes, sal ek nie bang wees nie, want U is by my.
In u hande is ek veilig.
Een: Hoe hou ons aan hierdie geloofswoorde vas, ons Herder-Heer!
Hou vandag elkeen vas wat hierdie woorde prewel...
Almal: “U laat my by ’n feesmaal aansit, terwyl my teëstanders moet toekyk.
U ontvang my soos ’n eregas, ek word oorlaai met hartlikheid.
U goedheid en liefde sal my lewe lank by my bly
en ek sal tuis wees in die huis van die Here tot in lengte van dae.”
Een: Hoor ons Herder-Heer, as ons gelowig saam bid,
die gebed wat U ons geleer het,
U gebed wat die wêreld omvou:
Almal: “Ons Vader wat woon in die hemel...” NSG 325 / Lied 266 word sonder aankondiging gesing.
Uit Die Groot Gebedeboek (Lux Verbi.BM, 2002) kan die volgende gebede gebruik word:
“In tye soos hierdie” – bladsy 296
“Internasionale vigs-dag” – bladsy 383
“Gebed van 'n vigslyer” – bladsy 384
VG Kerk Nuwe Sionsgesang 233: Kyrie, eleison
Of 203: Wie bevry ons land en nasie
Of NG Kerk liedboek: 247: Heer wees ons genadig
Of 488: Helder skyn u lig vir die nasies
7.DIE WERKLIKHEID VAN MIV EN VIGS
Getuienis: “So raak MIV en vigs vir my”.
Indien iemand beskikbaar is om van sy of haar belewenis van met MIV leef, te vertel, of as daar iemand is wat kan deel wat dit beteken om 'n MIV+ familielid aan die dood af te staan, sal dit 'n groot impak op die byeenkoms hê. Hierdie getuienisse moet egter met groot omsigtigheid hanteer word! (Verkeerde hantering kan bydra tot stigmatisering van MIV en vigs.)
Reël lank vooruit met die persoon en maak voor die diens seker dat die persoon emosioneel gereed is om te praat.
Maak seker dat daar nie misverstande oor 'n honorarium is nie. (Vir sommige persone kan dit 'n wesenlike verskil maak om finansiële ondersteuning terug te ontvang.)
Moenie die persoon voorstel as “MIV+” nie. Laat die persoon dit self vertel soos wat hy/sy dit by die geleentheid wil doen. (Stel die persoon eerder net voor as iemand wat sal vertel hoe sy/haar lewe deur MIV geraak is.)
Gewoonlik is twee vertellings meer as voldoende. Gee liewer aan een of twee geleentheid om bietjie langer te praat as wat probeer word om meer mense baie kort te laat praat.
Reël vooraf wie die persoon kortliks sal bedank en van almal teenwoordig se meelewing sal verseker.
OF: Skrifgedeeltes wat ons kan help om 'n lewe met MIV beter te verstaan
Dit is nie noodsaaklik dat iemand persoonlik vertel hoe MIV hom of haar raak nie. Wanneer daar nie iemand beskikbaar is nie (of daar word verkies om nie so 'n geleentheid te gee nie) kan die volgende Skrifgedeeltes voorgelees word.
Die Skriflesings kan ingelei word deur daarop te wys dat hoewel MIV en vigs nie in Bybeltye bekend was nie (dit is die afgelope 25 jaar bekend) vind ons in die Bybel eerlike en openhartige beskrywings van gelowiges se worsteling met die seer en die swaar van die lewe. Daar is baie omstandighede waar gelowiges vandag nog met hierdie beskrywings kan identifiseer. Die drie gedeeltes wat ons lees kan ons help om te begryp hoe iemand wat met MIV leef mag voel wanneer dit die dag sleg gaan, wanneer God se genade beleef word en wanneer daar weer nuwe sin in die lewe ontdek word.
8.SKRIFLESING EN BOODSKAP
Johannes 11 (Die preekskets handel oor die hele hoofstuk. Dit mag raadsaam wees om net gedeeltes van die hoofstuk voor te lees, bv: verse 1-4, 11-15, 20-27, 33-35, 41-46.)
Inleidend kan daar verwys word na ons verstaan van siekte en dood. Baie sien dit as ‘n straf op sonde. En swig voor die onverbiddelikheid en onverstaanbaarheid daarvan.
Kom ons kyk na verskillende uitsprake van Jesus in hierdie verhaal:
o Vers 4. 'n Belangrike uitspraak vol betekenis vir vandag se gelowiges. Siekte is 'n middel in die hand van God om sy mag te openbaar. En dit tot die verheerliking van Christus. Vergelyk 'n soortgelyke uitspraak van Jesus in Joh 9: 3b in verband met die blindgeborene. Dit vra van baie gelowiges 'n paradigmaskuif ten opsigte van siekte as sulks. Dieselfde uitspraak in vers 4 kom in vers 40 voor ten opsigte van die dood.
o Verse 11 en 14. Natuurlik beteken die dood nie vir Jesus die einde van alles nie! Sy uitspraak relativeer die finaliteit van die dood. Vir sy dissipels is dit uiteraard lewensvreemd. Maar gedagtig van Wie die uitspraak afkomstig is, maak dit vir ons as gelowiges meer sin.
o Verse 20 – 27. Die Paasgebeure bevestig hierdie uitspraak op 'n konkrete wyse. Jesus is inderdaad die Opstanding en die Lewe! Die Paasgebeure bevestig ook Sy uitsprake in verse 12 en 14. Die implikasies van Jesus se woorde in hierdie verse verdien verdere nadenke. Geloof staan sentraal in die uitsprake van Jesus.
o Verse 33 – 38. Hier word verskillende redes aangevoer waarom Hy gehuil het. Ten diepste beklemtoon Sy reaksie die menslikheid van Jesus. Hy was opreg lief vir sy vriend.
o Vers 43. Dit bly ‘n aangrypende oomblik. Mens kan jou verbeelding hier vrye teuels gee. Dit moes baie drammaties gewees het. En dit beklemtoon Jesus se mag oor die dood. Hy sou dit aanstonds in Getsemane herbevestig.
o Verse 45 -57. Dit is vandag nog so. Baie mense verwerp die ware betekenis van die opstandingsgebeure – en vir Jesus. Dit mag ons egter nie ontmoedig nie, maar veeleerder aanspoor tot groter geesdrif om die wonderlike waarheid van die opstandingsgebeurtenis met oortuiging te verkondig.
Ten slotte: Jesus gee nuwe betekenis aan siekte en dood. Prys Hom daarvoor! Hy is immers die Opstanding en die Lewe.
VG Kerk Nuwe Sionsgesang 270: Hart en hart in God verbonde – verse 1,4,5
Of 57: Wees stil 'n weet: Ek is die Heer
Of 181: Woon in my, o Heilge Gees
NG Kerk liedboek: 523: Goddelike liefdebande – verse 2,3
Of 518: Voel jy soms of die Here te ver is
Of 519: Wees stil en weet, Ek is die Heer
Of 526: Waar daar liefde is
Die volgende verbintenis kan gesamentlik afgelê word. (Of enkele persone kan dit namens almal teenwoordig, voordra.)
[*Verwerking van 'n belofte wat gebruik is by die uitreiking van die video: The URCSA Cares.]
Leier. In dankbaarheid verbind ons onsself om ’n gemeente te wees wat omgee, haar beywer vir geregtigheid en wat versorgend wil wees.
Gemeente. Ons verbind ons aan God en aan mekaar.
L. Soos God ons liefhet en vir ons sorg, sal ons ook vir mekaar daar wees.
G. Ons verwelkom in ons gemeente en ons kerk almal wie se lewens deur MIV en vigs geraak is en wat daarmee leef. Ons sê dit aan almal: Soos God ons aangeneem het, verwelkom ons julle in dié gemeente.
L. Ons is ’n gemeente wat geregtigheid nastreef.
G. Daarom sal ons alle vorme van diskriminasie teen mense wat met MIV en vigs leef, teenstaan.
L. Ons is ’n gemeente wat versorgend wil lewe.
G. Ons sal mekaar versorg en liefhê soos God ons in Christus liefgehad het. Ons sal bid vir die genesing van God se skepping. Ons sal Christus se teenwoordigheid in mekaar se lewens wees, veral in die lewens van diegene wat met MIV en vigs leef. Ons sal getuies wees van God se onvoorwaardelike liefde.
L. Ons is 'n gemeente wat Christus navolg.
G. Deur Christus die Verlosser en die krag van die Heilige Gees en God se goedheid en genade, is ons vrygemaak om onvoorwaardelik lief te hê, te dien, te getuig en om te gee.
L. Laat ons dan nou saam, as mense van God, belowe om om te gee.
G. Ons beloof gesamentlik in die Naam van God: mense wat met MIV en vigs leef, sal nooit ons Christelike liefde, sorg en deernis ontbeer nie.
Leier: Gaan en volg Christus!
11.UITSPREEK VAN SEËN
“Mag God, die bron van hoop, julle deur julle geloof met alle vreugde en vrede vervul, sodat julle hoop al hoe sterker kan word deur die krag van die Heilige Gees.” (Rom 15:13)
Erediens Wenke vir Vigsdag 2006
WENKE VIR WÊRELD VIGSDAG EREDIENS 2006
Wêreld Vigsdag het in 1988 onstaan. In 1997 het UNAIDS die noodsaak van 'n globale aksie met een boodskap raakgesien. Omdat Wêreld Vigsdag toe reeds gereeld op 1 Desember plaasgevind het en inslag gevind het, is hierby aangesluit. Hierna het dit 'n selfstandige veldtog geword wat deur World AIDS Campaign gedryf word. Die afgelope jare het kerke ook die Sondag voor of na 1 Desember as geleentheid gebruik om op MIV en vigs te fokus.
Vanaf 1996 tot 2004 is daar jaarliks 'n spesifieke tema vir Wêreld Vigsdag ontwikkel. Vanaf 2005 is die fokus op “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”. Die argument agter hierdie tema is dat daar al soveel beloftes (van die hoogste regeringsvlak tot op die vlak van individue) gemaak is, maar dat so min van hierdie beloftes realiseer.
Algemene inligting oor Wêreld Vigsdag is hier beskikbaar.
WENKE VIR 'N EREDIENS IN AANSLUITING BY WÊRELD VIGSDAG
ONTHOU: Iemand wat met MIV leef, is nie “besmet” nie, is nie 'n “slagoffer” nie, is nie “’n groot sondaar” nie, is nie “ongelowig” nie. Ons sê ook nie so 'n persoon “het vigs” of is 'n “visglyer” nie – praat deurlopend van “mense wat met MIV leef”.
LET WEL: Dit is nie nodig om alle momente wat hier gegee word, te gebruik nie. Daar word juis “meer as wat nodig is” gegee sodat keuses na gelang van plaaslike omstandighede gemaak kan word.
Hoe lief het ons u woning, Here, Almagtige!
Ons versmag van verlange na die gemeente van die Here; met alles wat ons is, wil ons jubel oor die lewende God.
Selfs ‘n mossie het ‘n nes en ‘n swaeltjie ‘n plek vir haar kleintjies daar by u altare, Here, Almagtige, ons Koning en ons God!
Dit gaan goed met mense vir wie u huis ‘n tuiste is: hulle hou nie op om U te prys nie.
Dit gaan goed met mense wat hulle krag in U vind en graag met u gemeente byeen kom.
Vir hulle gaan daar fonteine oop wanneer hulle deur ‘n dorre laagte trek en die vroeë reëns sy seëninge bring.
Keer op keer ontvang hulle nuwe krag totdat hulle voor God in Sion verskyn.
Here, almagtige God, hoor ons gebed, luister tog, God van Jakob!
(Psalm 84:1-8 aangepas)
Namens God, ons Vader, Jesus Christus, ons Verlosser en die Heilige Gees, ons Trooster, verwelkom ek u in die gemeenskap van die heiliges.
U is welkom net soos wat u gekom het –
Met u vreugdes en hartseer
Met u vrese en verlanges
En watter emosie MIV en vigs ook al vandag in u hart wakker maak.
U is welkom
Kom tuis in die teenwoordigheid van ons God van liefde.
Genader vir u en vrede!
Van God, Vader, Seun en Heilige Gees.
AANSTEEK VAN KERS
[Vooraf kan gereël word dat 'n persoon die kers kom aansteek of 'n vrywilliger kan uit die gemeente genooi word. Dit sal goed wees as die kers 'n teken – bv 'n vigsstrik – het wat dit met MIV en vigs identifiseer.]
Voor die aansteek van die kers kan daarop gewys word dat die simbool van die kers ons herinner aan die lig van Christus wat in ons wêreld skyn. Die Woord word ook 'n lig genoem. Christus het ook vir sy dissipels gesê dat hulle die lig vir die wêreld is. MIV en vigs kan soos 'n donker skaduwee oor mense se lewens en gemeenskappe wees, maar die lig van Christus skyn ook hier.
GEBED NA AANSTEEK VAN KERS
Here, laat ons die geur van u lieflike teenwoordigheid
versprei oral waar ons gaan.
Versadig ons gees met u liefde en u lig:
deurdring ons lewe so volkome met die glans van u lig
dat dié wat met ons in aanraking kom,
bewus mag word van u warmte en heil.
Laat hulle wat in die skadu's lewe, na ons kyk
en net vir Jesus sien!
Bly so naby ons dat ons lewe soos U s'n sal begin skyn ...
Ons vra nie dat die lig op óns val nie, liewe Here,
maat dat dit déúr ons op ander sal skyn.
(Uit: Groot Gebedeboek, bl 359 - John H Newman - Gebed daagliks gebruik deur Moeder Teresa en haar helpers in Kalkutta.)
[Gebruik 'n lied wat die liefde van God besing of wat getuig van Christus as die lig van die wêreld of die Woord as ons lig.]
“ONS GEMEENTE(S)/ KERK EN WÊRELD VIGSDAG 2006”
Die tema vir hierdie jaar is: STOP VIGS! HOU JOU BELOFTE!
Meer spesifiek word hierdie jaar op ons verantwoordelikheid ten opsigte van hierdie pandemie gefokus.
Die vraag is: is ons verantwoordelik ten opsigte van dit wat ons as individue, as gemeentes en as kerke beloof het?
[Baie kerke het verklarings uitgereik ten opsigte van MIV en vigs. Hier kan gebruik gemaak word van u kerk se verklaring. Verkieslik moet enkele uittreksels uit die verklaring deur 'n lidmaat voorgelees word.]
Vra: “Wat het ons as kerk, as gemeente en as individue met ons verklarings en beloftes gedoen?”
Gee 'n minuut vir nadenke en volg met volgende gebed.
[Die gebed moet verkieslik gesamentlik gebid word. As dit moeilik is, reël dat 'n lidmaat dit voorberei en voorgaan.]
Here, ons Verbondsgod
Ons staan vandag voor U as die God wat u getroue liefde deur verbonde aan ons bevestig.
Ons dank u vir u verbond met Abraham.
Ons dank u vir u nuwe verbond in u Seun, Jesus Christus
- dat u u woorde in ons harte kom skryf en in ons gedagtes vaslê
- dat u reinigingswater oor ons uitstort
- dat u ons klipharte met harte van vleis vervang
- dat u u Gees aan ons gee om na u wil te leef
- dat u ons God is en ons u volk.
Ons bely dat ons u verbond onwaardig is
- ons vergeet u woorde van liefde
- ons harte is dikwels nog hard teenoor ons medemens
- ons leef soos ons wil.
Ons bely dat ons beloftes maak en dit breek.
Vergewe ons dat ons hierdeur ons broers en susters en almal wat met MIV leef, seermaak.
Gee vir ons opnuut harte van vleis
Skenk u Gees sodat ons volgens u wil kan leef.
Ons vra dit in Jesus se naam.
(Gebed na aanleiding van Jeremia 31:31-33 en Esegiël 36:24-28)
[Hier kan 'n verootmoedingslied gesing word.]
GEBED EN SKRIFLESING
12. Eendag toe Jesus in een van die dorpe was, kom Hy ‘n man teë wat oortrek was van die melaatsheid. Toe die man Hom sien, val hy op sy knieë voor Hom en smeek: “Here, as U wil, kan U my gesond maak.”13. Jesus steek sy hand uit, raak hom aan en sê: “Ek wil. Word gesond!” En sy melaatsheid was onmiddellik weg.14. Toe gee Jesus hom opdrag: “Moet dit aan niemand vertel nie, maar gaan wys jou vir die priester en bring offers vir jou reiniging soos Moses voorgeskryf het. Dit sal vir die mense die bewys wees dat jy rein geword het.”15. Tog het die nuus oor Hom nog verder versprei, en groot menigtes het saamgedrom om na Hom te luister en van hulle siektes genees te word. 16. Maar Hy het Hom altyd weer in eensame plekke afgesonder om daar te bid.
[Wat hier volg is nie 'n volledige preek nie, maar gee voorstelle vir 'n preek oor die Skrifgedeelte.]
Daar is al dikwels gesê dat daar 'n ooreenkoms tussen vigs vandag en melaatsheid van Bybelse tye is. Dan word hiermee bedoel dat soos wat melaatse mense in die tyd van die Ou en Nuwe Testament tot gevolg gehad het dat mense uit die gemeenskap verdryf is en daarom sosiaal verwerp is, dit dikwels in ons tyd wanneer bekend word dat iemand met MIV leef of siek is aan vigs. Daar is talle voorbeelde van hoe mense openlik of meer subtiel verwerp is nadat hulle MIV+ status bekend geword het.
Daar is natuurlik ook belangrike verskille tussen MIV en vigs en melaatsheid. In die tye van die Ou en Nuwe Testament was daar wetlike voorskrifte om melaatses uit die gemeenskap te verwyder. Omdat daar geen medikasie beskikbaar was nie en omdat die indruk bestaan het dat melaatsheid aansteeklik is, was hierdie reëlings grootliks voorkomend van aard om verdere verspeiding van melaatsheid te keer. Ek stel my voor dat gemeenskappe nie maar net by die wetlike voorskrifte rondom melaatsheid gebly het nie, maar dat mense met melaatsheid met 'n velheid en liefdeloosheid verstoot is wat teen die bedoeling van die wet ingegaan het.
Wat MIV en vigs betref, is daar geen wetlike voorskrifte waarvolgens ons mense uit ons gemeenskap moet verwyder nie. Ons weet ook dat normale sosiale kontak geen gevaar inhou vir MIV infeksie nie. Die redes waarom mense wat met MIV leef so maklik deur hulle gemeenskap en soms selfs deur gemeentes verstoot word, lê by ander redes. Daar is baie redes hiervoor, bv onkunde, vrees, veroordeling en die onvermoë om by iemand se nood betrokke te raak. Dis duidelik dat hierdie redes almal slegte redes is.
Wanneer ons die verhaal in Lukas 5 lees, kan 'n mense nie anders as om oor 'n paar elemente van hierdie verhaal te verwonder nie. Hierdie verwondering kan ons help om sinvol te wonder oor ons roeping in hierdie tyd van MIV en vigs.
Die eerste wat opval, is dat Jesus Hom oor hierdie melaatse man ontferm. Jesus sê: Ek wil dat jy gesond sal wees. Vir Jesus, die groot Geneesheer, die Seun van God, is die verskil tussen wil en doen natuurlik anders as vir ons. Hy genees inderdaad die melaatse van sy siekte. Vir ons is genesing 'n veel meer komplekse saak. Dit verskil van siekte tot siekte en kan elemente soos medikasie, chirurgie, persoonlike sorg, geestelike ondersteuning en versoening met medemense en God insluit. Al is die prosesse vir ons moeilik kan ons ook soos Jesus gesondheid, genesing, herstel voorop stel.
Die tweede wat opval, is dat Jesus aan die melaatse vat. Deur aan die melaatse te vat oortree Jesus twee reëls. Hy oortree die reëls van die wet wat sosiale kontak met melaatses beperk het. Hy oortree die sosiale norme van sy tyd wat voorgeskryf het dat melaatses letterlik nie nader as 'n sekere afstand van mense mag kom nie.
Baie van die toeskouers van hierdie wonder-genesing sou waarskynlik geskok gewees het om te sien wat Jesus doen. Stel jou voor: wat niemand durf doen nie, doen Hy!
Ek dink nie Jesus het dit gedoen om daarmee te sê “kyk, ek sal nie melaatsheid kry nie”. Ek dink Hy het dit waarskynlik gedoen om daarmee te toon dat hierdie persoon wat deur sy siekte en deur die gemeenskap vereensaam, verwerp is, deur Hom aanvaar word. Jesus demonstreer wat sy koms na hierdie wêreld, wat sy liefde beteken.
Die derde wat opval, is dat Jesus hierdie melaatse, wat nou gesond geword het, na die priester stuur. Waarom doen Jesus dit? Tog nie om daarmee vir die priester 'n boodskap te stuur van “kyk bietjie wat doen hierdie Nasarener!” nie. In dieselfde asem beveel Jesus die man om nie vir almal te vertel dat Jesus hom genees het nie. Die ontmoeting met die priester het dus 'n ander motief.
Die motief hiervoor vind ons in Jesus se woorde: “Dit sal vir die mense die bewys wees dat jy rein geword het” (vers 14b). Die melaatse wat gesond geword het moet na die priester gaan sodat hy met sy mense versoen kan word.
As Jesus sy melaatsheid genees het en dit daar gelaat het, sou hierdie man waarskynlik nog lank aan die verwerping deur die gemeenskap blootgestel gewees het. Dan sou sy genesing bloot fisies gewees het. Maar Jesus sorg dat hy ook met sy gemeenskap versoen word. Daarom moet hy na die priester gaan, die nodige offers bring en met sy mense versoen word.
Jesus doen dus meer as wat hy aanvanklik gevra het. Hy bid om fisiese genesing. Jesus skenk hierdie genesing en bewerk ook sosiale versoening of genesing.
Is dit nie verskriklik hartseer – en 'n klag teen die Christendom – dat mense wat met MIV leef so dikwels verwerping beleef nie?
Hierdie verhaal van Lukas 5 behoort ons sensitief te maak vir ons medemens en ons medegelowige se behoeftes aan genesing, aanvaarding, nabyheid, sosiale en fisiese kontak. Natuurlik ook geestelike en emosionele ondersteuning en versorging. Dis nie 'n geval van of die een of die ander nie, dis die een én die ander.
Christus se liefde omvat ons hele menswees.
MIV en vigs bedreig ons menswees op soveel vlakke.
Christus se versoening herstel ons hele menswees.
[Vrye gebed deur prediker of die volgende kan gebruik word:]
Te midde van MIV en vigs roep ons na U -
Ons dink so maklik niks sal ons tref nie,
Maar ons het geleer dat ons almal kwesbaar is.
Ons bid, Vader, dat u ons sal beskerm.
Jesus, ons Verlosser
Te midde van die vigspandemie roep ons na U -
Dikwels voel ons soos skape sonder 'n herder;
Lei ons asseblief deur hierdie donker tyd.
Bring ons opnuut in u teenwoordigheid!
Verlos, herstel, genees!
Gees van God, ons Trooster
Te midde van die vigspandemie pleit ons by U -
Ons stryd teen MIV en vigs duur al jare;
Nou weet ons dat ons u wysheid nodig het:
Ons bid om wysheid
vir ons regering – vir wysheid in elke besluit
vir alle organisasies op die vigsterrein – vir wysheid in hulle diens
vir alle mediese navorsing – vir wysheid om oplossings te vind
vir alle versorgers – vir wysheid om met liefde te versorg
vir onsself en ons kinders – vir wysheid om verantwoordelik op te tree
vir onsself en mede Christene – vir wysheid om nie oor morele vooroordele te struikel nie
Ons bid vir ons kerk en u kerk – om met wysheid betrokke te wees
[Kies 'n lied waardeur die gemeente hul gehoorsaamheid en toewyding aan Christus kan verwoord.]
Die persoonlike verhaal van iemand wat met MIV leef, kan 'n groot impak op die gemeente hê. Dit kan ook iemand wees wat kan deel wat dit beteken om 'n MIV+ familielid aan die dood af te staan.
Aangesien verkeerde hantering van so 'n getuienis ook onvoorsiene en negatiewe gevolge mag hê – dit kan selfs bydra tot stigmatisering van MIV en vigs – moet dit met groot omsigtigheid hanteer word!
Reël lank vooruit met die persoon en maak voor die diens seker dat die persoon emosioneel gereed is om te praat. Maak seker dat daar nie misverstande oor 'n honorarium is nie. (Vir sommige persone kan dit 'n wesenlike verskil maak om finansiële ondersteuning terug te ontvang.)
Moenie die persoon voorstel as “MIV+” nie. Laat die persoon dit self vertel soos wat hy/sy dit by die geleentheid wil doen. (Stel die persoon eerder net voor as iemand wat sal vertel hoe sy/haar lewe deur MIV geraak is.)
Reël vooraf wie die persoon kortliks sal bedank en van almal teenwoordig se meelewing sal verseker.
Die diens kan afgesluit word deur opnuut 'n belofte ten opsigte van MIV en vigs te maak.
(Aanpassing van 'n belofte gebruik by die uitreiking van die video: The URCSA Cares)
Leier: In dankbaarheid verbind ons onsself tot ’n gemeente wat omgee, haar beywer vir geregtigheid en wat versorgend wil wees.
Gemeente: Ons kom ooreen om ons te verbind aan God en aan mekaar.
Leier: Soos God ons liefhet en vir ons sorg, sal ons ook vir mekaar daar wees.
Gemeente: Ons verwelkom in ons gemeente en ons kerk almal wat met MIV leef en wie se lewens daardeur geraak word. Ons sê dit aan almal: Soos God ons in sy verbond verwelkom, verwelkom ons julle in ons gemeente.
Leier: Ons is ’n gemeente wat geregtigheid nastreef.
Gemeente: As gemeente sal ons alle vorme van diskriminasie teen mense wat met MIV en vigs leef, teenstaan.
Leier: Ons is ’n gemeente wat versorgend wil lewe.
Gemeente: Ons sal mekaar versorg en liefhê soos God ons in Christus liefgehad het. Ons sal bid vir die genesing van God se skepping. Ons sal Christus se teenwoordigheid in mekaar se lewens wees, veral in die lewens van diegene wat met MIV en vigs leef. Ons sal getuies wees van God se onvoorwaardelike liefde.
Leier: Deur die voorbeeld van Christus is ons sterker in geloof, edeler en sagmoediger van gees.
Gemeente: Deur Christus die Verlosser en die krag van die Heilige Gees en God se goedheid en genade, is ons vrygemaak om onvoorwaardelik lief te hê, te dien, te getuig en om te gee.
Leier: Laat ons dan nou saam, as mense van God, plegtig belowe.
Gemeente: As lede van die liggaam van Christus, beloof ons saam in die Naam van God, om mense wat met MIV en vigs leef daarvan te verseker dat hulle nooit ons Christelike liefde, sorg en deernis sal ontbeer nie. Ons beroep ons op Christus se woorde in Mattheus 25: "Ek was honger, en julle het My iets gegee om te eet; Ek was dors, en julle het My iets gegee om te drink; Ek was ’n vreemdeling, en julle het My gehuisves; siek, en julle het My besoek." Ons sal ons belofte gestand doen: Ons moet staan waar God staan.
Leier: Gaan en volg Christus!
'n Gemeentelid kom na vore, neem die kers wat brand en stap daarmee na die hoofuitgang en na buite as simboliese handeling dat die lig van Christus die wêreld ingeneem word. Die gemeente volg hierdie persoon.
World AIDS Campaign Action Alert. 30/11/06
From the Campaign office:
Just one day until World AIDS Day!This year’s theme of accountability has been used by campaigners around the world. Please click here to visit the World AIDS Day Event Calendar to see events from around the world
“On this World AIDS Day, let us vow to keep the promise — not only this day, or this year, or next year — but every day, until the epidemic is conquered."
To read more from Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan’s editorial from the USA Today on World AIDS Day and accountability, please click here.
The World AIDS Campaign Support Team has circulated hard-hitting commentary on the theme of accountability. Please feel free to use any of this text as you develop your own World AIDS Day statements.
A short extract follows:
“Promises are not being kept because there is a staggering lack of leadership at every level. Promises are not being kept because AIDS is now a multi-billion dollar industry with hundreds of committees and working groups at national and international levels which rarely challenge the status quo or ask hard questions about results.
Internationally, donor countries and multilateral agencies are failing to work together. Instead, they compete with their own different initiatives. Nationally governments are failing to speak out consistently on AIDS and failing to work with the most vulnerable groups – sex workers, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and prisoners. And at every level, civil society has dispersed into myriad interest groups on different AIDS themes while losing sight of the bigger picture.”
The World AIDS Campaign Support Team collected statements from a number of public figures for World AIDS Day, ranging from entertainers to religious leaders.We hope that these messages will inspire campaigners all over the world and encourage leaders to apply the will to make their promises a reality.
Voices from women: “In 2006 all governments at the UN reaffirmed the promise to STOP AIDS. Still, the epidemic continues to grow, particularly among young people and women. I urge LAC governments to commit to bringing sexuality education to adolescents and young people and promote condom use and their free distribution. They must also adopt policies to reach equality among women and men and finally, respect sexual and reproductive rights. Governments promised this last June. What have they done?? We must make them accountable!!”
--Mabel Bianco; President of FEIM and Coordinator of International AIDS Women’s Caucus
To read more about women's groups on World AIDS Day or to download the Women in Action one-pager, please click here
Voices from labour: “Universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support is a goal we not only support but demand as a right. Trade unions call on national authorities and the international community to recognize that access will never be universal without the involvement of the workplace as a key point of delivery, and of unions and employers as key partners. Also essential for the achievement of universal access is the respect of rights and the prohibition of stigma and discrimination – this is the core demand of unions in the face of HIV/AIDS. Keep the promise – deliver universal access in and through the world of work”.
---Alan Leather, Global Unions Programme on AIDS, Chair of the Steering Committee.
To read more aboutlabour groups on World AIDS Day, or to download the Labour in Action one-pager, please click here
Voices from youth: "Our response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic will determine how we are judged by future generations and history itself. Will we be known as those who watched in denial and made false promises as more than 6000 young people got infected each passing day? Or will we be remembered as those who kept their promises and provided young people the information, education, skills and services they needed to protect themselves from infection and the services, treatment, care and support they needed to live with it? The decision is ours - and the time to make it is NOW! Stop AIDS. Keep the promise."
--Prateek Suman, Youth Coalition
To read more aboutyouthgroupson World AIDS Day, or to download the Youth in Action one-pager, please click here.
Voices from faith: "Churches and faith communities are an essential part of the solution because people of faith play a critical and important role in stopping AIDS in this generation. Religious leaders are "keeping the promise" by making public and specific commitments, promises reflected not only in our leadership, rhetoric, advocacy, and vulnerability, but also in our budgets and priority decisions. Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise!”.
--The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
To read more about faith groups on World AIDS Day,or to download the Faith in Action one-pager, please clickhere
Voices from positive networks: "AIDS is now a medically manageable condition. Yet too many people in resource-poor settings are still dying from it. If we all kept our promises - our promises of money and resources, and our promises of support and acceptance -we could radically curtail, and perhaps even end, death and suffering from AIDS. So let us take accountability seriously in this epidemic - of our governments, international agencies and of ourselves."
--Mr Justice Edwin Cameron
To read more aboutpositivenetworkson World AIDS Day,or to download the Positive People in Action one-pager, please click here
Across our website you will see the voices of other campaigners around the world, ranging from Princess Mabel of the Netherlands toPakistani musician Salman Ahmed.Visit http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/ for more information.
JUST RELEASED: The 8 minute video , "Stop AIDS, What will you do?" which highlights the status of AIDS in 2006, the promises that have been made and the gaps in action, specificallyin regards toUniversal Access, is now available on our website. Please click here to watch it.
Contact - WCC Newsletter on AIDS Day 01/12/06
On this World AIDS Day, we are grateful for your leadership and support for the HIV-and AIDS-related work of your community, and for the ecumenical responses to overcome this pandemic. But we need to question ourselves on the scale and quality of our responses.
“Do you think that you alone, in your position of power and isolation will escape from the negative effects of HIV? For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for those affected by HIV and AIDS will come from elsewhere and you would have missed the opportunity to serve and you would be discredited.”
Today, as the HIV pandemic rages on, affecting millions of people, let us remember the words of Mordecai to Esther (from the book of Esther 4:14 on events that took in the 4th century BC, when a plot to destroy the enslaved Jewish people in Persia was uncovered by Mordecai, and Esther, who was Jewish but the queen of Persia, was exorted to take action). Their words are paraphrased for our times as quoted above.
The time of relief and deliverance for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and those potentially at risk is right now. Today the world potentially has the knowledge, resources and the possibilities of prevention and treatment to arrest the pandemic and save generations. Either we step in or we step aside! Let us keep our promises and practise what we preach. Together we can make a difference.
The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches adopted a key Statement on churches compassionate response to HIV and AIDS in September 2006. The statement reviews the ecumenical response, analyses the positive changes that have been brought on by the work of churches, and goes on to elaborate the challenges that we face today, suggesting ways forward.
We request your ongoing support for making this statement known in your church, its congregations and institutions, so that on World AIDS Day and beyond, Christian communities can share in a common compassionate response to HIV and AIDS.
You could use the following web-links to access the recent key resources :
Results of a key survey conducted by WCC on the a review and appraisal of the progress made towards the implementation of the UNGASS and Declaration of Commitment to combating HIV and AIDS and Work Place Policies from Churches’ perspective.
The electronic version of WCC’s Bible-based counselling manual for HIV in English and Portuguese
Yours sincerely, Dr Manoj Kurian (firstname.lastname@example.org ) WCC Health and Healing programme executive World Council of Churches - Health, healing and wholeness Website:
EAA Action Alert - National Targets. 11/11/06
Keep the Promise: HIV and AIDS Campaign
Action Alert from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
11 October 2006
Setting National Targets for Universal Access: Call on Leaders to Keep their Promises!
With the World AIDS Day theme focusing on accountability, one of the most critical processes to monitor and engage in is the national target setting process called for in the June 2 United Nations (UN) Political Declaration. In this declaration, national governments and heads of state committed themselves to setting ambitious national targets, through an inclusive process, to scale up efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment by 2010. Governments agreed in the declaration to set the targets by the end of 2006.
UNAIDS has now produced an operational guidance document on "Setting National Targets for Moving Towards Universal Access". This document provides important information for country-level partners and UN staff to facilitate the process of setting targets for the national AIDS response to achieve by 2008 and 2010.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) strongly encourages its participants to use the document to engage in the target setting process and to apply pressure to governments to live up to the commitment they agreed to in the June Political Declaration to set the targets and scale up their response to ensure universal access.
UNAIDS, with input from civil society organizations among others, developed tThe operational guidance to build on the April 2006 "Considerations for countries to set their own national targets for AIDS prevention, treatment and care". The guidance specifically highlights the importance of engaging civil society in the target setting process and follow-up. The guidance is a working document and UNAIDS appreciates comments and suggestions.
UN staff representatives at country level have now been asked to present the guidelines to their respective National AIDS Coordinating Authorities. They have been challenged to use this opportunity to advocate for a review of existing targets, when needed, highlighting the importance of the involvement of civil society and other partners in the target setting process to ensure broad buy-in and endorsement of ambitious national targets.
In September UNAIDS country level partnership officers and focal points met to plan strengthened partnership work at country level. Meeting participants commented on a draft version of the guidelines and agreed to help facilitate partnership between the national authority and civil society at country level for work on target setting. They agreed to:
share the guidelines widely with civil society groups nationally
find ways to translate the guidelines to local languages where appropriate
help organize meetings and work with government to ensure civil society representatives are involved meaningfully
act as a focal point for ensuring the target setting process is as inclusive as possible
encourage transparency in the process by sharing the outcome of any consultations widely
What can I do?
The "Keep the Promise" campaign holds ourselves, our communities, and our leaders accountable to the promises they have made on action against HIV and AIDS. With World AIDS Day focusing on accountability, and national targets to achieve universal access due at the end of December, we are called to increase our efforts to call our leaders to account and to engage in the process.
Review the Operational Guidance and learn about the commitments toward universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support made by governments and how you can join in civil society to ensure that effective targets are made and kept.
Engage in national level processes with civil society and government by contacting UNAIDS country-level partnership officers and focal points and to see how you can get involved. A list is available here. If your country or region is not listed, contact the civil society partnerships team in Geneva at email@example.com.
Visit political leaders or write to them to ask how they are setting national targets and including civil society in the process.
Plan events around World AIDS Day that raise awareness in your community about your government's promises to respond to HIV and AIDS and the status of their commitments. Actions could include a letter-writing campaign, letters to the editor of your local and national papers, and asking media how they are covering the issue of government accountability on HIV and AIDS.
At this page you can send an email postcard to four key pharmaceutical companies, Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline. You can also send the email postcard to friends to tell them about the action.
The proportion of children living with HIV or AIDS who are receiving treatment is far smaller than the proportion of adults living with HIV or AIDS and receiving treatment. For adults the percentage is 20%, but for children it is only 7.5%. Children's deaths are sometimes seen as more unavoidable, and medicines for children are less profitable.
Children need medicines which are differently formulated compared to those for adults. All children need lower dosages than adults. Babies and young children need medicines that can easily be swallowed. Problems here include:
For many drugs no tests have been done on their effects on children and a formulation for children has not been developed and approved for use. This includes the recent innovations of three-in-one pill combinations which make treatment far easier.
Trying to divide pills intended for adults into dosages for children can lead to dangerously imprecise dosing. Syrup formulations often need refrigeration which is not available in many regions, and are still hard to dose correctly. For all but the youngest of babies, small solid pills of the appropriate dosage are preferable.
Some formulations for children may not have been marketed outside of rich countries and thus are not available elsewhere.
Where formulations are available, they are often more expensive than adult formulations, as mentioned above.
Even where medicines, such as basic antibiotics, are available and affordable, many treatment programs are not yet sufficiently informed and focused on treatment for children and are thus not providing access to medicines.
Diagnosis of HIV is usually done on the basis of the presence of antibodies. However babies acquire their mother's antibodies, which may persist until they are 18 months old. Therefore it is not possible to use this test to see if the virus has been transmitted to the baby of an HIV positive mother. However, as half those infected will die before they are two unless they get treatment, diagnosis is needed far earlier. Once diagnosed, regular testing is needed to see when a child living with HIV needs to start treatment.
Alternative diagnostic tests which look directly for the virus are available but require expensive laboratory equipment, complex testing, reliable electricity supplies and highly trained staff. One development is a technique that allows blood to be taken to a laboratory for testing, but this still relies on the existence of an equipped laboratory within reach of transport links. What is needed is a simple, cheap diagnostic test that can be carried out on the spot.
Further resources on pediatric AIDS are available at
There is now one month to World AIDS Day on 1 December, which has the theme "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise". Within this the EAA is focusing on accountability around access to medicines to treat HIV and AIDS. Encourage people in your church or organization to take this action in the run up to World AIDS Day.
More resources for World AIDS Day, including an ecumenical liturgy which focuses on access to medicines, are available at
WHO Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property
As reported in previous bulletins, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a working group to look at alternative ways of supporting research and development on diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries (see Trade for People Campaign Bulletin 2/2006 or Keep the Promise: HIV and AIDS Campaign Bulletin 2/2006 at
WHO has now set up an online consultation on the work of this group, and is encouraging civil society groups to contribute their opinions. The consultation is open between 1-15 November and is at http://igwg.who.int/phi/
For past Action Alerts and Bulletins from the HIV and AIDS campaign, see
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/http://www.e-alliance.ch/
Fokus op Vigs - Fontainebleau Gemeenskapskerk Erediens. 29/11/06
Erediens op Fokus op VIGS-sondag, 29 November 2006.
Prediker: Ds. Johan Pieters
Votum: die hele Psalm 146
Sing: Lied 190:1 en 3 (O Grote God)
Aansteek van die Kers
By die spesifieke geleentheid is 2 lede van die Gemeenteraad as ouderlinge bevestig. Die ander lede is vorentoe genooi vir die bevestiging en een van die lede het die Kers aangesteek as teken van die Gemeenteraad se verbintenis aan vroeëre besluite rondom betrokkenheid op die terrein.
Sing: Lied 304:2 en 3 (U wat ons roep, U is getrou)
WIE MAG NA CHRSTUS KOM
Rut 1:1-8 en Luk 19:1-3
Rut – Die verhaal van Rut vertel hoe ’n Moabitiese meisie deel van die voorgeslag van Christus geword het. Dit vertel hoe sy saam met haar skoonma, Naomi, na Israel teruggekeer het, en hoe sy uiteindelik volgens die gebruik met Boas getroud is. Boas was die vader van Obed, die oupa van Isai en die oupagrootjie van Dawid – uit wie se geslag die Christus gebore sou word.
Veral vertel dit die verhaal van ’n God wat ’n vreemde, “heidense” vrou gebruik in Sy plan om die wêreld te verlos. ’n God wat na alle mense uitreik en roep.
Saggeus - Saggeus se verhaal vertel ’n ander storie van dieselfde God. Dit vertel die verhaal van hoe moeilik dit vir die “ander” persoon is om by Christus uit te kom. Dit is nie net sy lengte wat verhinder dat hy by Christus uitkom nie, maar ook (en miskien veral) die skare.
Die skare wil naby aan Jesus wees. Hulle geniet dit, is opgewonde oor Jesus. Is miskien selfs lief vir hom!! Miskien was dit ’n selfsugtige skare. Miskien was dit ’n skare van mense vol van self-geregtigheid, dws tevrede met wie hulle is. Hulle het waarskynlik nie eers besef hoe hulle vir Saggeus eenkant toe stoot nie.
Dit is nie vanselfsprekend dat ons, hoe nadaer ons aan Jesus beweeg en kom, dat ons meer oop is vir ander mense nie. Soms word kerkmense ook ’n skare wat soek, wat Jesus vir hulleself opeis, wat selfsugtig net probeer nader kom aan Jesus – maar wat ’n hindernis word vir ander om Jesus te kan sien en ontmoet.
Ons moet vrae vra soos: Hoe verhinder ons ander om na Jesus te kom? Met watter aksies, groot en klein, kommunikeer ons aan die ander dat hulle nie welkom naby die Reddende Een is nie? Hoekom? En vrae soos: Wie is dit wat ons nie raaksien nie dat hulle ook naby Christus wil wees nie? Wie verhinder ons om Sy genesende nabyheid te ontdek? Mense wat HIV+ is? Wat Vigs het? Wat van mense van ander rasse en kulture? Wat van mense wat misluk het? Wat van enkelouers, geskeide vrouens? Wie is die slagoffers van ons eie begeerte om naby Jesus te wees en ons vrees om Hom te verloor?
Hierdie hindernisse word deur gedrag gebou. Dit wat ons sê maak seer, maar hoe ons optree maak dalk nog seerder.
Ronel Paul is die leidster van ons VIGS-aksie, die HISOP-aksie, wat genesing wil help bring vir mense wie se lewens deur HIV en VIGS geraak word. Sy is ook betrokke by ons Sinode se VIGS-kommissie en by opleidingsprojekte. Ek het vir haar gevra om vir ons te kom vertel hoe lyk die gedrag van Christene wat HIV+ mense verhinder om Christus te sien.
1. Vertel gou vir ons van jou betrokkenheid op die terrein van VIGS en veral die Alexandra-projek waarmee julle besig is?
2. In jou werk met mense op die terrein van VIGS – hoe verhinder die kerk en kerkmense mense wat HIV+ is of VIGS het om naby aan Jesus te kom? Hoe versterk ons stigma deur ons gedrag?
Ons het nodig om ten minste te erken dat ons nie volmaakte christene is nie. Ons het nodig om ons skuld te bely voor Christus.
Sing: Lied 232:1 (Diep, o God, diep neergeboë.)
HOE OM CHRISTUS TE SIEN
Mark 12:28-34 en Luk 19:3-6
Die slagoffers van hierdie hindernisse se mens-wees word afgebreek. Hulle selfvertroue, selfwaarde word afgebreek. Hulle reageer met woede. Hulle draai hulle rug op mense. Hulle raak agterdogtig oor mense se goeie bedoelings – ook oor die kerk en sy mense – en uiteindelik ook oor Christus.
Ek weet nie wat dit is wat maak dat ons mense so op ’n afstand ou nie. Miskien is dit omdat ons bang is vir hoe hulle ons eie lewenstyl kan ontbloot, miskien skep dit onsekerheid oor wie ons is en is dit net veiliger om hulle ver te hou.
En tog, hoor ons baie verhale van mense wat deur ons op ’n afstand gehou word, wat kreatief raak in ‘n poging om by Christus uit te kom.
Saggeus – Saggeus klim in ’n boom om Jesus te kan sien – miskien ook om te kan wegkruip van die skare en die manier waarop hulle na hom kyk.
Maar Jesus sien hom. En die skare het verbaas gekyk na wat gebeur. Hulle was verbaas oor die optrede van tollenaar – hoe kan hy dit doen? En verbaas daaroor dat Jesus met die sondaar praat. Verbaas dat Hy na Saggeus se huis wil gaan, dat hy bereid is om die risiko te loop om in die huis van ’n sondaar te gaan eet. Later sou hulle nog meer verbaas wees oor hoe Jesus se liefde Saggeus se lewe vir eens en vir altyd verander.
Maar sulke “bold” en kreatiewe gedrag word soms vir ons moeilik om te verwerk. Dit daag ons uit. Dit daag ons uit om grense oor te steek na mense vir wie ons eerder wil ignogeer – omdat ons bang is vir hulle en die effek wat hulle op ons en diegene vir wie ons lief het, kan hê. Omdat ons bang is dat hulle ons lewenswyse ontbloot as selfsugtig.
Markus 12 – Markus 12 help ons om te sien dat Christus juis van ons verwag om die kreatiewe mense te wees wat die afstand oorbrug. Die gedeelte is baie duidelik oor wat God van ons vra. Ons kan filosofeer oor wat liefde is en wie ons naaste is, maar ons weet wat God vra. Hy vra van ons om mense te wees wat vir God en ons naaste lief het, om die persoon aan wie daar ’n stigma van agterdog en vrees kleef, lief te hê. Dit, so sê Jesus, is die grootste gebod.
Watter kreatiewe maniere bestaan daar in die kerk om die Saggeusse te help om die probleem van die skare te oorkom?
Lyn van Rooyen werk vir CARIS (Christian AIDS Resources and Information Service), wat hier in die Bedieningsentrum geleë is. Ek het haar gevra om van een of twee christene te kom vertel wat die skare-probleem oorkom het.
1. Vertel ons gou van CARIS?
2. So met jou omswerwinge deur Afrika, kry jy seker te doen met verhale van hoop – plekke waar christene ’n verskil maak?
Ons het nodig om weer die ware God te ontdek, of ten minste om mekaar weer te herinner aan God. Die een wat Johannes noem: “God is liefde”. Die een wat vir Rut en Saggeus lief het.
Sing: Lied 334:1 en 3 (God is liefde)
WANNEER CHRISTUS NABY ONS KOM
(Heb 9:11-14, Luk 19:6-10)
Sal dit nie wonderlik wees as Christus se liefde al die randfigure van ons samelewing raak nie? Almal wat HIV+ is. Almal wat VIGS het. Almal wat anders as ons is? Sal dit nie wonderlik wees as hulle almal heil en genesing vind nie. As hulle almal liefde, aanvaarding en hoop ontvang nie?
Jesus sê dat daar vir Saggeus redding en verlossing gekom het, “want jy is ook ’n kind van God”.
Heb 9 – Heb 9:11-14 vertel dat ons dat Christus die Verlosser is. Dat deur sy bloed ons gereinig word van die dade wat tot die dood lei, SODAT ons die lewende God kan dien! Deur sy bloed word ook elke ander mens so verander om die lewende God te kan dien! Dit is wie Jesus is. Die een wat soek en red, die Een wat omgee en genees. Die een wat nie sal ophou soek nie totdat hy vir ons gevind het om God te kan dien!
Saggeus – My eerste reaksie is dat Saggeus darem ge-oorreageer het op Jesus se liefde. Hy gee alles wat hy gevat het viervoudig terug. Hy gee die helfte van sy goed aan die armes. Hy gee alles – homself vir Christus. My tweede reaksie is om te besef dit is wat God vra! Soos Bonnhoeffer sê: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him: Come and die!”
Ons gaan weer ’n dankoffer opneem. Hierdie keer ’n dankoffer van verbintenis. Ek wil u nooi om ’n verbintenis te maak om mense wat met die stigma van agterdog en verwerping leef te help. In die aankondiginge is daar ’n kaartjie waarop staan: My verbintenis. U kan daarop een of meer verbintenisse maak soos om deel te word van ’n bediening rondom VIGS of armoede, soos om eerlike self-ondersoek te doen oor waar u soos die skare reageer, of om uit te reik na iemand of ’n groep mense teenoor wie u self bevoordeeld is.
Nadat ons gekyk het na hoe iemand wat HIV+ is vertel oor wat hulle behoefte is, gaan die diensspan die sakkies omstuur en die kaartjies opneem. So, deur die handeling van dankoffer te herhaal, bevestig ons ook dat ons dankoffer meer behels as die geld wat vroeër gegee het. Daarna sal ons ’n gebed doen. U hoef nie u naam op te skryf nie, tensy u wil dat iemand u moet kontak.
Terwyl die diensspan die kaartjies inneem en dit vorentoe bring gaan ons na ’n snit uit ‘n onderhoud met Quinton Jonck kyk. Quinton is ’n afrikaansprekende jongman van 30 (toe die DVD gemaak is), wat by ’n verfmaatskappy werk, verloof is en gholf speel. Hier is ’n uittreksel uit sy verhaal, hoe hy begin verstaan het watter hoop hy as iemand wat HIV+ is kan bring.
Die DVD is by CABSA beskikbaar. Speel die gedeelte van Quinton se getuienis wat by 7min 30sek begin tot aan die einde van die DVD.
Gebede: Nadat al die kaartjies ingeneem is en vorentoe gebring is het die liturg 3 kaartjies gekies dit gelees en daaroor gebid.
Sing: Lied 532: 1,2 en 3 (Neem ons hande).
Die Here sal julle genadig wees,
sy liefde sal oor julle skyn en
Hy sal julle gebede verhoor.
Ek gee graag erkenning aan die skrywers van: The Church in an HIV+ world – a practical handbook (ed. Daniela Gennrich) wat die konsep vir hierdie erediens bevat (sien p 158).
From the Campaign Office. 12/06
From the Campaign Office
As you have hopefully heard by now the theme for World AIDS Day this year is accountability. The theme and the materials to support it have been developed by the World AIDS Campaign support team based on their ongoing work around World AIDS Day. A number of lessons have been learnt from previous work on World AIDS Day, and far more energy was invested early in the year to make World AIDS Day 2006 a success. The most significant aspect of this World AIDS Day is the degree to which it has been based around the inputs of a wide range of civil society partners.
During World AIDS Day 2006, we hope to achieve the following objectives:
Enhanced accountability from political leaders on their promises on AIDS.
Supporting a broad movement of civil society organisations campaigning to develop their sense of joint identity and common purpose.
Generating a greater public awareness of, and engagement with, the problem of AIDS worldwide.
Efforts are being made to allow as much scope as possible for local adaptation of the World AIDS Day theme. Specific country campaigns can be decided on by local organisations within the overall theme of accountability.
These campaigns may wish to utilise the World AIDS Day slogan, Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise, as it stands on its own.
Alternatively, they may decide to develop a slogan that specifically addresses the local issue and use it in conjunction with the World AIDS Day slogan. For example, if a national campaign is run to address the lack of concrete indicators in achieving Universal Access to Treatment, Care and Prevention, the slogan could be: "Set the goals for Universal Access: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."
To further promote the theme of accountability, we propose involving the following schemes in World AIDS Day activities:
Red: Using the colour red in promotional objects, e.g. red ribbons, t-shirts, banners, etc.
Targeting Leaders: To reinforce the notion of leader responsibility, planning activities such as marches, advocacy, letter writing, etc.
Where possible, both schemes should be used simultaneously. For example, if a campaign plans to march on a legislative body for World AIDS Day, it would be encouraging and make more of an impact if everyone wore red.
In order to assist in World AIDS Day campaigning, resources will be provided by the World AIDS Campaign support team including: a CD-Rom action pack with campaigning information and communications materials, World AIDS Day posters, website with a World AIDS Day events calendar, information and a web forum, a series of press releases, World AIDS Campaign newsletters, networking opportunities and a media pack.
World AIDS Day Action Packs, which include World AIDS Day posters in a choice of English, Spanish, Russian or French languages,and a CD-ROM in all four languages, will be ready in early October. They will also be available to view and download on our website by the end! of the week.
If you would like to receive a copy of the Action Pack , please contact us and indicate your preference in language. Please note, there are a limited supply of materials and materials will be sent out on a first come, first serve basis.
What are you doing for World AIDS Day?
Please let us know your plans for World AIDS Day so we can share the information with colleagues around the world and post events on our website .
To play, to learn, to have food and health. To be loved, secure and safe. These are the rights of every child, rights robbed by a virus and robbed twice over in countries crippled by debt and paralysed by trade rules designed to benefit the rich and powerful
Loving God, vanquish our complacency
at our injustice to these your children.
Remove all traces of empty conscience-salving charity.
Make us, instead, committed to sharing our resources –
your resources – with those who need them most;
to seeking in justice to remove the debt burdens of the poorest,
to working tirelessly
so that all your children might know again
the joys of playing, learning, living,
loving and being loved.
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches. 1/12/06
Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise. World AIDS Day 2006
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches December 2006
"2006 marks the 25th anniversary of the identification of AIDS, 10 years since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy, and five years since UN member states unanimously adopted the 2001 "Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS." If there is one thing that HIV/AIDS surely attacks, it is human life. With millions of people already dead, and millions of others either living with or personally affected by HIV/AIDS, the epidemic constitutes one of the most critical problems for our time. Beyond physical death, HIV/AIDS has also undertaken a severe attack on spiritual, psychological and economic life. Some may have suffered and died physically, but the tragedy is that the majority of families, communities and countries died internally and mentally when they lost hope for the future. The quality of life has been severely reduced for both the infected and the affected. It is therefore important to remember that religious institutions in general, and churches in particular have very important roles to play in ministering to the spiritual needs of those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS; in fighting the spread of the disease from one person to the other; in mobilising care and treatment for those already infected; and in mitigating the effects of the disease on the families, communities and nations that have been affected.
Download this document here (PDF, 303.75KB, 12 pg)
Litany for World AIDS Day, December 1st
This litany can be used as a call to worship, or as a call to confession, and can be used in the Christmas or regular season.
Written by: Steve Kooy
As a church today, we have gathered in the name of Jesus Christ. We celebrate His birth, His death, and His resurrection. Christ brings salvation and restores our souls to health. He transforms our lives and redeems our sin filled world.
We worship Christ our saviour, healer, and redeemer.
We look forward to the day when Christ returns in all His glory and when there will be no more sin. Until then we will devote our lives to walking in the way of the Lord, to seeking the desires of God’s heart, and to joining God’s work of redemption in the world.
God promised that we will find Him, when we seek Him with all of our heart. (Jer 29:13)
Our world is no longer the perfect creation that God intended. It is in poor health and in need of the healing presence of Christ. Millions are dying without the knowledge of a Saviour who can heal both body and soul.
God desires a hand that brings healing. (Mark 2:17)
HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that has infected both immoral and innocent alike. Millions of children are infected with HIV. This disease is not punishment from God; it is a painful consequence of sin.
God desires a heart that shows mercy. (Micah 6:8)
Our world knows what it is to be needy. More than 60 million people have been infected by HIV over the last 2 decades. In 2001, HIV/AIDS claimed an estimated 3 million lives. Behind each person infected, there is a community affected. Poverty and famine deepen, and communities are stretched beyond capacity to care for those left behind.
God desires a religion that cares for the needy, the widow, and the orphan. (James 1:27)
Our world is full of loneliness and emptiness. It is in need of a saviour who offers hope and meaning.
God desires a church that embraces sinners. (Luke 19:10)
As disciples of Christ, God desires that we:
Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches 2005. 1/12/05
Stop AIDS. Keep/Make the Promise. Don't Turn your Back on AIDS
Published by Diakonia Council of Churches December 2005
The international theme for World AIDS Day 2005 is Stop AIDS. Keep/Make the Promise! Don’t turn your back on AIDS! Diakonia Council of Churches offers suggestions towards worship services to be held on or around World AIDS Day in the hope that they will encourage many churches to mark this day.
World AIDS Day Liturgy December 2003 by Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar 12/03
PENITENTIAL RITE, WE ASK FORGIVENESS
Gathered here before our God we acknowledge with humility that ours is a broken and wounded family, that though each of us, HIV positive and HIV negative alike, is made uniquely in God image, we have distorted that image.
For the times we have labelled people “untouchable” because they are living with HIV, for the many occasions when people have been shunned and ostracised by our churches and communities because someone in the family has AIDS. Kyrie Eleison.
For the times our communities, our churches, have excluded individuals because of their sexual orientation, lifestyles or social acceptability. For the occasion when our churches have been a source of oppression based on gender or sexuality. Kyrie Eleison.
For those priests, religious and lay people denied their church’s support because they have HIV; for the church’s refusal to admit that Christ’s body has AIDS. Kyrie Eleison
For the time when the sexual abuse of children has gone unacknowledged by our communities and our churches. For the many occasions when the sexual exploitation of women has gone unchallenged and instead is often perpetrated by those in power in our societies and even within our churches. Kyrie Eleison.
For the times when, within the Church, we have allowed our prejudices to cloud our decisions, for the times we have neglected the needs we could have responded to, remained silent when called to risk speaking our, put our own interests before those of the people we claim to serve. For the times we have brought anxiety, not peace, to groups and people we work with. Kyrie Eleison
May God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustiner have mercy on us, forgive us our sins against God’s family, and brings us to life everlasting. AMEN
As we journey through this world
Give us the grace to allow your Holy Spirit to work through us.
Help us to speak, think and work
with honesty, and compassion,
to celebrate all that is life-giving
to restore hope where it has been lost,
and to bring about change where it is needed.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our companion.
Prayers and Intercessions
At this time many families are disrupted by poverty, unemployment, crime, family breakdown and separation and other negative factors. For millions, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an additional and growing threat.
We are gathered today wit h people all over the globe to express our solidarity with those affected by HIV and AIDS. We celebrate our sense of belonging to one world family. As we worship together, we share our pain and hurt.
Today we think in particular of men and women who are at risk of HIV infection and of those already HIV positive and pray that, as Christians, we may provide them with a solid foundation upon which to base their lives and relationships.
Prayers of the People
O God, we know you hear the prayers of your people
We turn to you in our need, O God
We pray for the strength to share the burden of illness with those who suffer in the AIDS crisis
Help us to see that in sharing one another’s grief, we grow in strength and compassion
We pray for those who suffer from AIDS or any grief or trouble, that they may be strengthened to call to you for help
Give us, your servants, hearts to respond to their call, willing hands to help, and discerning ears to hear your voice
We pray for men all over the world
Enable them to make wise choice in their lives to protect themselves and their loved ones from HIV infection
We pray for those who care for people with AIDS, and for those who seek treatment and a cure
Give them patience to endure and wisdom to lean on you for strength and courage
We pray for families and friends of those who suffer from AIDS
Fill them with knowledge of your healing and redemptive love
We pray for all men, women and children who are now ill, that they may find courage and strength, hope and healing. We especially pray for those known to us at this time
(Names may be read aloud or spoken silently)
We pray for the dying
That their suffering may be relieved.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
God of Unity
Bind us together with strong ties of Love
That this church community may be a place where
All can find acceptance,
May it be a place of welcome for all affected by HIV/AIDS.
May it be a place where care is given and received, especially for affected children and youth.
Where stories are told and heard,
Where fear is overcome by love,
Where you are to be found
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen
World AIDS Day Liturgy of Diakonia Council of Churches 2004. 1/12/04
Have you Heard me Today?
Published by the Diakonia Council of Churches December 2004
The international theme for World AIDS Day 2004 is Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS – “Have you heard me today? Diakonia Council of Churches offers these suggestions towards worship services to be held on or around World AIDS Day in the hope that they will encourage many churches to mark this day.
Download this document here (PDF, 230.14KB, 22 pg)
AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday
AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday 2015
2015 Candlelight Memorial theme calls on leaders to support the future of people living with HIV. 23/04/2015
On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2014, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP ) unveiled the theme for the 2015 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, which will fall on Sunday, 17th May 2015 – ‘Supporting the future’.
This annual mobilization campaign has been taking place every year since 1983, led by coalition of community organisations globally, and is coordinated by GNP .
Suzette Moses-Burton, Executive Director of GNP , says: “with the transformations being made to global AIDS policy and the development agenda, people living with HIV around the world need to unite and demand a sustainable AIDS response. Where’s the money? Where is the respect for our rights? Where is the support for community action?”
Funding commitments for the AIDS response fell from 2012-2013, and future funding is uncertain. Yet we are not even meeting the current needs of people living with HIV. According to some estimations, an additional 5-10% in additional financing will be needed to meet the latest World Health Organisation antiretroviral treatment guidelines. As it is, many of us face the risk of treatment interruptions due to drug stock-outs resulting from poorly financed health systems. The global AIDS response needs to be financed.
Many of us live in social, political and legal environments that are difficult—sometimes even dangerous. This year witnessed continued criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, among people living or perceived to be living with HIV, in many countries around the world. And violence against women living with HIV showed no signs of abating. The upcoming targets on non-discrimination could contribute significantly to improving the quality of life of people living with HIV, but we must ensure those most marginalized in our communities are included. The global AIDS response needs to contribute to creating an enabling environment.
People living with HIV have a history of demanding accountability. As we enter this new phase of the global AIDS response, we will need to take up that role as much as ever. However, we need the global AIDS response to support the meaningful engagement of our communities in all their diversity. We can no longer accept that the failure to involve us as equals is simply an oversight. The global AIDS response needs to be fully inclusive.
“On 17th May 2015, as we honour those who have departed, let’s mobilise all people living with HIV from all walks of life to demand a sustainable AIDS response—one that funds health care, promotes human rights for all, and engages us fully and meaningfully,” says Suzette Moses-Burton.
Poster International AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2015. 12/3/2015
The poster for the 2015 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on 17 May 2015 is now available.
The theme ‘Supporting the future’ calls on people from communities around the world to unite and demand a sustainable AIDS response. Currently, we are not meeting the needs of people living with HIV, with many facing lack of access to treatment, care and support. Many are also facing discrimination and criminalization. The AIDS response needs to be fully inclusive.
The poster can be downloaded in high resolution - suitable for printing up to A2 format, as well as low resolution - suitable for printing on A4 format or smaller. The posters are available for download in English, French, Spanish and Russian.
In addition, we added a white box to the poster into which Community Coordinators can add the time and place of their own Candlelight Memorial.
The poster will only be available as a digital file.
Statement On The International AIDS Candle Light Memorial 2014 - National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Statement On The International AIDS Candle Light Memorial 2014
On this year’s International AIDS Candle Light Memorial, we call to remembrance our sisters and brothers, known and unknown to us, who have died. We also give thanks for the breakthroughs achieved in science to ease the burden of pain and loss.
While we are elated at the decreasing number of people living with HIV and easier access to medical services worldwide, we are disturbed that People living with HIV in the Philippines are increasing at an alarming rate. The 934 new cases of HIV infection from January to February 2014 is 43% higher compared to the same period last year. It is also alarming that 83% of these new cases are in the National Capital Region not to mention that 59% of these belong to the 20-29 years age group. Our young people have become vulnerable to HIV.
We call on the churches and other organizations to intensify the campaign on HIV and AIDS awareness. None is more essential than a united effort to promote an informed public, breaking myths and upholding the truth about HIV and AIDS.
In recent days, the Secretary of the Department of Health announced plans for mandatory HIV testing. Instead of a reactive measure like this, paramount is a more comprehensive and effective HIV awareness program. Compulsory HIV tests are not only violative of people’s rights but also heightens stigma and discrimination. The DOH could prioritize medical treatment and other support mechanisms easily accessible for PLHIV. We do, however, encourage young people to go for HIV tests and we reiterate this encouragement on this occasion: protect yourself and your future.
On this observance of the International AIDS Candle Light Memorial, the NCCP affirms its commitment to live out the liberating message of the Gospel especially with the vulnerable sections of our society. We are ready to cooperate with similar minded organizations that the love of Christ may be manifest more fully especially among those to whom that love is denied.
May this solemn occasion be a time to be encouraged by the apostolic teaching that “God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28). May the God of love and Lord of the dance teach us compassion and good cheer.
THE MOST REVEREND EPHRAIM S. FAJUTAGANA REV. REX RB REYES, JR.
Theme for International AIDS Candlelight Memorial announced. 1/12/2013
This World AIDS Day, 1st December 2013, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), announces the theme and artwork for the 2014 campaign, which will take place on Sunday 18th May, ‘Let’s keep the light on HIV’.
The Candlelight Memorial, one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world, was started in 1983, and takes place every third Sunday in May, led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries.
With the Candlelight Memorial falling just two months before the International AIDS Conference, the theme echoes the AIDS 2014 tagline, Stepping up the Pace, which reflects that the response has already been effective, but that it will only continue to be effective if support continues and grows.
Raoul Fransen, Executive Director a. i. of GNP+, says, “The Candlelight Memorial has been a potent focal point for activism in the community of people living with HIV over many years, and the theme therefore reflects a feeling of solidarity, of people acting together, and of not stigmatizing people living with HIV, including key populations.”
He continues: “‘Let’s keep the light on HIV’ aims to be positive and forward-looking, whilst also recognizing that this remains a memorial event for many. In addition, with a post-2015 agenda looming, and the imminent replenishment of the Global Fund, the theme speaks to the urgent need to ensure that HIV and AIDS does not drop off the agenda for international policy makers.”
With 33 million people living with HIV today, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
How to get involved:
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is dependent on the support and enthusiasm of community mobilisers large and small around the world. Coordinating organisations are diverse, and include networks of people living with HIV and other key populations, affected families and communities, as well as women’s organisations, service organisations, academic institutions, healthcare facilities, faith-based groups, businesses, media and more.
The type of events held may vary enormously, from small community vigils to multi-day national commemorations, and many use the opportunity to promote local HIV services, encourage education and community dialogue, and advocate for the advancement of public policy.
Organisations can register online at the www.candlelightmemorial.org website to become official coordinating organisations. Once registered, organisations will be supported with information and guiding materials, including digital posters and web banners, webspace to post event details, press release templates, fact sheets, and membership of the campaign’s global coalition. After the event, coordinating organisations submit a brief final report online detailing their activities, and what impact they had on their communities.
Leadership by people living with HIV and those affected by HIV is an important part of the Candlelight Memorial. Each country is lead by a National Coordinator, who will work with community coordinating organisations to develop community events. This support structure is in turn supported by Regional Coordinators, who sit on the International Advisory Board, representing each world region where the programme takes place.
For more information about this release: Please contact GNP+:
+27 (0)21 424 1478
About the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+): GNP+ is the global network for and by people living with HIV. GNP+ advocates to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. As a network of networks, GNP+ is driven by the needs of people living with HIV worldwide. Based on emancipation and self-determination, GNP+ works with independent and autonomous regional and national networks of people living with HIV in all continents.
In solidarity: 30th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial - 19 May 2013
The theme of the 30th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is “In solidarity”. On Sunday 19 May 2013, for the 30th time, grassroots organisations worldwide will commemorate International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. Communities will raise awareness around HIV, stand together with people living with HIV and remember the loved ones lost to HIV and AIDS.
The theme of “In solidarity” emphasizes the need for people living with and affected by HIV to join hands and work together in the response to HIV. Solidarity in communities is essential to reduce stigma and promote the involvement of people living with HIV in order to ensure a more effective HIV response. Only together as communities can we advocate for universal access to quality health and social services.
Organising the memorial for the 30th time is no reason for celebration. When the AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held first in 1983, no-one could have predicted the scale of the global epidemic. With millions of lives lost and around 33 million people currently living with HIV, HIV remains a challenging reality.
While for many people HIV has become a chronic disease, many others lack access to treatment and experience HIV-related stigma, discrimination and human rights violations on a daily basis. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us of the impact that HIV has on our lives locally and globally.
To mark World AIDS Day 2012, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is releasing our theme and poster. You can download the poster and an accompanying email banner from www.candlelightmemorial.org. You can also register as a Community Coordinator for Candlelight Memorial 2013 on the website.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilisation campaigns for HIV awareness. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May. It is led by a coalition of 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries, and is coordinated at the global level by the Global Network of People living with HIV.
For more information about this news release: Please contact GNP+ (Martin Stolk, External Relations and Communications officer, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone +31-20-423 4114)
Poster International AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2013
The poster for the 2013 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on 19 May 2013 is now available.
The theme of the 30th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is In solidarity. The theme emphasizes the need of people living with and affected by HIV to join hands and work together in the response to HIV. Solidarity in communities is essential to reduce stigma and promote involvement of people living with HIV in order to ensure a more effective HIV response. Only together as communities we can advocate for universal access to quality health services and HIV treatment, to raise awareness around HIV and to promote respect for human rights of people living with HIV. The image on the poster was taken during the 2012 memorial in Iquitos in Peru.
The poster can be downloaded in high resolution - suitable for printing up to A2 format, as well as low resolution - suitable for printing on A4 format or smaller.
In addition, we added a white box to the poster into which Community Coordinators can add the time and place of their own Candlelight Memorial.
The poster will only be available as a digital file.
Boodskap van CABSA vir VIGS Herdenking Sondag - 19 Mei 2013
Ons wil julle graag herinner dat dit Sondag Vigs Herdenking Sondag is en jul uitnooi om ook Sondag julle tafel vol kerse te maak – ter herdenking van soveel lewens wat diep geraak is en steeds geraak word deur MIV en Vigs.
Toe die eerste Vigs Herdenkingsdiens in 1983 gehou is, was dit nog onbekend wat die oorsaak van Vigs was. Op daardie stadium het slegs ‘n paar duisend mense gesterf aan Vigs-verwante siektes. Dit is nou dertig jaar later en intussen het Vigs ‘n paar miljoen lewens geëis. Ons is egter in ‘n posisie wat ons al soveel meer van MIV en Vigs weet en dankbaar kan wees vir soveel vordering as dit kom by die behandeling en voorkoming van MIV.
Ons gebruik egter steeds wêreldwyd die derde Sondag in Mei om ons solidariteit te wys met ons broers en susters, vriende en kollegas en ook miljoene mense wat ons nie persoonlik ken nie wat aan Vigs-verwante siektes gesterf het.
Ook dink ons met meelewing en deernis aan elkeen van ons, ook ons broers en susters wat vandag met MIV LEWE, en erken ons die somtyds stille effek wat MIV ook in ons eie lewens en families mag hê.
Ons identifiseer met die liggaam van Christus en sê – in Solidariteit is ons almal saam hierin. “As een lid ly, ly al die lede saam: en as een lid geëer word, is al die lede saam bly.” 1 Kor 12: 26
CABSA wil jou nooi om saam met ons en duisende Christene wêreldwyd te kies om ons solidariteit met mekaar en elkeen wat met MIV leef en saamleef te wys. Kom ons maak Sondag ons tafels vol kerse en gebede.
Steek 'n kers - of sommer 'n tafel vol kerse - aan terwyl julle middagete en/of aandete geniet. Bid dan ook saam met ons vir families en vriende wat geliefdes aan die dood afgestaan het, maar ook vir elkeen van ons wat met MIV leef en saamleef. Bid ook aasseblief dat ons as Kerk al meer ’n stigma-vrye plek van hoop en ondersteuning sal word in ’n wêreld met MIV.
Worship Material for International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday 2013
When the first “International AIDS Candlelight Memorial” was held in 1983, the cause of AIDS was not even known, and only a few thousand people had died. Thirty years later we continue to use the third Sunday in May as an opportunity to show solidarity with our brothers and sister who have died, with our brothers and sisters living with the virus, with the millions of us who have lost loved ones and with each person involved with the epidemic in some way.
It is therefore appropriate that the theme for the 30th anniversary is "In Solidarity". More information on the theme and the history can be found here.
AIDS Candlelight Memorial this year is also Pentecost Sunday. Rather than a full worship service focussed on HIV, we developed a short litany and prayer that can be used in any service.
You can download the litany in Afrikaans and English.
We suggest that you also sing the song "Ukuthula" or use the video below.
From the media advisory: "This year’s theme “Promoting Health and Dignity Together” carries a lot of meaning. The theme focuses on the fact that the HIV response will only be successful when it is an effort that is supported by and addresses the needs of all those affected by HIV, including all people living with HIV key populations such as men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, and sex workers, as well as women and young people. The theme emphasizes that health and well being cannot be achieved without respecting the dignity and promoting and protecting the human rights of all."
You can download the Media advisory and CABSA's Worship Guidelines in English or in Afrikaans in the links below.
The poster can be downloaded in high resolution - suitable for printing up to A2 format, as well as low resolution - suitable for printing on A4 format or smaller:
20 May 2012 – Around 100,000 people worldwide today commemorated the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to support those living with HIV and affected by its impact. Supported by community, business and religious leaders in 500 town and villages in 115 countries, Memorial participants called for greater action from all actors in the HIV response.
“The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is a vivid reminder of our continuous battle against a very deadly disease,” says Mayowa Joel, Candlelight Memorial Coordinator in Nigeria. “Remembering the friends and loved ones we lost to AIDS is essential in this time of dwindling funds and ever changing global health and development priorities that threaten the advances we have made to stop AIDS and reverse the spread of HIV and other closely associated diseases especially TB."
According to the most recent UNAIDS statistics, around 34 million people are living with HIV globally. Increasing access to HIV treatment has aided efforts to stabilize the epidemic, but still every year 1.8 million people die of AIDS related diseases, while some 2.7 million new people become infected. Annually at least 390,000 children are born with HIV, something which is wholly preventable with current medical knowledge.
People participating in this year’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial called for governments and international agencies to ensure more people have access to better health services and HIV treatment. Also Memorial participants demanded local and national governments to do more to support the human rights of people living with HIV and no longer tolerate stigma and discrimination.
According to Candlelight Memorial participants the HIV response will only be successful when it is an effort that is supported by and addresses the needs of all those affected by HIV, including all people living with HIV and specific groups such as men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, and sex workers, women and young people.
Promoting Health and Dignity Together is the theme of this year’s Memorial. The theme emphasizes that the health and well-being of an individual cannot be achieved without respecting a person’s dignity and promoting and protecting the human rights of all. Promoting Health and Dignity Together is closely connected to the rights based framework, Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention, focusing on the health and well being of people living with HIV, which has been developed by UNAIDS and GNP+ and has informed national policies responding to the needs of people living with HIV around world.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world. Started in 1983, the Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May and is led by community, health and faith organizations in 115 countries. With 33 million people living with HIV today, the Candlelight serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, reducing stigma and discrimination and giving hope to new generations.
For many organizers community mobilization for the Candlelight Memorial begins on World AIDS Day, 1 December, and ends with the international memorial in May. Coordinating organizations are diverse and include networks of people living with HIV, women organizations, networks of key populations, service organizations, academic institutions, health-care facilities, faith-based groups, businesses, media, and more.
Memorials range from small community vigils to multi-day national commemorations. In addition to remembrance, many coordinating organizations use the Candlelight Memorial as an opportunity to promote local HIV services, encourage education and community dialogue, and advocate for the advancement of public policy.
The leadership of people living with HIV and those most affected by HIV is a critical aspect of the Candlelight Memorial. Being driven by communities is what makes this event so unique and important.
The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) is the global network for and by people living with HIV. GNP+ advocates to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. Driven by the needs of people living with HIV worldwide, GNP+ supports people living with HIV through their organisations and networks. GNP+ works to ensure equitable access to health and social services, by focusing on social justice, rights and more meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in programme and policy development – the GIPA principle. www.gnpplus.net
For more information about the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial: Please contact GNP+ (Martin Stolk, External Relations & Communications officer, by email email@example.com, or phone +31-20-423 4114)
Call to Pray for UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS on Candlelight Memorial Sunday. May 2011
In 2011, world governments are reviewing the progress made in the HIV response over the last ten years, particularly the implementation of commitments made in UN Declarations in 2001 and 2006.Although much has been achieved, many of the goals of previous declarations have not been met.
A key outcome of the review will be a new declaration that is expected to be formally adopted by governments at a High-Level Meeting in New York on 8-10 June.1
Faith communities share the concern that the global economic crisis, the perception that HIV is no longer a major problem and other global challenges might cause a shift of focus away from HIV.
In a recent Letter to Partners 2011: UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé wrote: “World leaders gathering in New York for the General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS carry the responsibility of renewing hope and re-energizing the AIDS movement. The promises they make and words they speak at this meeting will define tomorrow’s agenda. Together, we can make this the defining decade, the decade that signals the beginning of the end of AIDS.....This is a time to scale up, not scale down.”2
On AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday, we ask faith communities to pray specifically for this important meeting, for the leaders as they prepare, and for wisdom and insight as they make their decisions.
1.Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance: UN Review on AIDS 2011: Talking Points for National Advocacy by Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations :
2.Letter to Partners 2011: UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday 2010
In 2010 the third Sunday of May falls on the 16th.
If you know of other lithurgies or worship material, please share it with us!
Guidelines for Aids Memorial Sunday 2010 compiled by the Aids Task Group of the CCD of the DRC (Western and Southern Cape) and the URCSA (Cape Province).
The Aids Task Group of the NGK and VGK in the Western Cape and CABSA compiled guidelines for use during the service on Sunday 16 May when Aids Memorial Sunday will be celebrated worldwide. The United Ministry for the Service of Testimony of the NG Kerk has not only taken note of the guidelines but also supports it for use in NGK and VGK congregations.
Riglyne vir Vigsherdenkingsondag 2010 saamgestel deur die Vigstaakgroep van die GKD van die NG Kerk (Wes- en Suid-Kaap) en die VG Kerk (Kaapland).
Die Vigstaakgroep van die NGK en VGK in Wes-Kaap het in samewerking met CABSA weer riglyne opgestel vir gebruik tydens die erediens op Sondag 16 Mei wanneer Vigsherdenkingsondag wêreldwyd gevier word. Die Verenigende Bediening vir die Diens van Geuienis van die NG Kerk het nie net van die riglyne kennis geneem nie, maar ondersteun dit ook vir gebruik in die gemeentes van die NGK en die VGK.
As usual CABSA provides Semon Guidelins for AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday, that is held on the 3rd Sunday of May each year. The memorial will be held on the 17th May this year. The theme for 2009 is "Together, We Are the Solution".
Declaration of Solidarity
The Candlelight Memorial’s International Advisory Board, in collaboration with the Global Health Council, has issued the Declaration of Solidarity to be read during memorials around the globe.
Verse 44-48 vorm die hoogtepunt van die langer Kornelius verhaal wat by Lukas 10:1 begin en by 11:18 eindig. Die volgende indeling (wat Heroldt gebruik) gee 'n goeie oorsig van die verhaal:
- die visioen van Kornelius (10:1-8);
- die visioen van Petrus (9-16);
- die ontmoeting met die diensknegte (17-23a);
- die ontmoeting met Kornelius (23-33);
- Petrus se verduidelikende toespraak (34-43);
- die uitstorting van die Gees en die doop (44-48);
- die legitimering in Jerusalem (11:1-18).
Vers 44: Hoewel die uitstorting (letterlik “val” in vers 44 en “uitstort” in vers 45) van die Heilige Gees skynbaar Petrus se prediking onderbreek (volgens 11:15 klink dit asof Petrus van plan was om baie meer te sê), staan dit nie teenoor die verkondiging van die Woord nie, maar bevestig dit. Vir Calvyn is die uitstorting van die Gees 'n bevestiging dat God predikers stuur om deur die verkondiging van sy Woord verlossing deur die Gees te werk (vergelyk Gal 3:2).
Wat hier gebeur, is duidelik 'n daad van God. Dit bevestig 'n lyn wat deur die hele Kornelius verhaal loop. God stuur 'n engel na Kornelius. Hy gee vir Petrus 'n gesig. Die Heilige Gees gee aan Petrus die opdrag om saam met die boodskappers te gaan.
“Through four interventions (10:3-6,11-16,19-20,44-47) God himself directed the course of action, bringing Peter and Cornelius together in one place, overcoming Peter’s reluctance ‘to associate with or to visit’ Gentiles (10:28) and finally making it impossible for Peter not to baptize them by granting the Holy Spirit to these Gentiles (10:44-47; 11:16-18), ‘just as on us at the beginning’ (11:15; cf 10:47)” (Krodel, p187).
Die opvallende woord in hierdie vers is “almal”. Dit moet natuurlik saam met vers 24 gelees word waar Lukas noem dat Kornelius “sy familie en huisvriende” bymekaar geroep het vir Petrus se besoek. Dit kan ook saam met verse 34 en 35 gelees word.
Verse 45-46a: Daar is 'n opvallende parallel met Handelinge 2:2-13. Vir almal teenwoordig was dit duidelik dat wat hier gebeur, die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees is. Hier is geen sprake van 'n “tweede klas” nie – God behandel Kornelius en sy familie en vriende op 'n gelyke voet as Petrus en die ander Apostels. Vergelyk in hierdie verband die “soos ons” in verse 47, 11:15 en 11:17.
In Hand 2 was dit die inwoners van Jerusalem wat verbaas was oor wat met die volgelinge van Jesus gebeur. Hier is dit die volgelinge van Jesus wat verbaas is oor wat met die Romeine (“heidene”) gebeur.
Verse 46b-48: Vir Petrus en sy metgeselle was daar 'n logiese noodsaaklikheid dat die doop met water die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees sou volg. Dis opvallend dat hier geen sprake van besnydenis is nie – iets wat volgens 11:13 juis aanleiding gegee het tot ernstige kritiek uit die geledere van die gelowiges in Jerusalem.
Vers 47 kan gerus saam met vers 34 en 35 gelees word. Dit lyk asof Petrus nou eers – nou dat die Heilige Gees merkbaar op almal uitgestort is – werklik besef wat die implikasies van sy eie uitspraak is.
Volgens Lukas gee Petrus die opdrag “dat hulle in die Naam van Jesus Christus gedoop moet word” en vermeld en geen verdere inligting nie. Die wyse van doop, wie dit bedien het en of die onmiddellik plaasgevind het, word nie vermeld nie.
Hierna vertoef Petrus vir enkele dae as Kornelius se gas om daarmee te bevestig dat daar 'n nuwe gemeenskap tot stand gekom het. “For Peter, accepting the hospitality of these Gentiles was the horizontal implementation of the vertical experience narrated in vv 44-47. One cannot preach the gospel toe people, or regard them as equals, and then refuse to eat with them.” (Krodel, p 201).
Binne die groter Handelinge verhaal speel die Kornelius verhaal 'n duidelik skarnier-funksie. Volgens Hoofstuk 8 het Philipus, een van die sewe, die evangelie eers aan Samaritane en daarna aan 'n Etiopiër verkondig – met wonderlike gevolge! Tog het die vraag of die “heidene” gelyke erfgename van God se genade is, nog nie op die agenda verskyn nie. Waarskynlik omdat die vervolging van die “volgelinge van die Here” (vgl 9:1) nog so heftig was. Dit is eers na Saulus se bekering op weg na Damaskus en daar weer rustigheid kom (vgl 9:31), dat die tyd ryp was om die vraag oor die “heidene” aan die orde te stel. Dit gebeur dan ook op 'n verrassende wyse wanneer niemand minder nie as Petrus instrumenteel is in die bekering van 'n aantal Romeine. Dit het die gemeente in Jerusalem konfronteer met die vraag oor die “heidene” sodat hulle die verbasende ontdekking maak: “God het selfs mense wat nie Jode is nie, tot inkeer gebring om aan hulle die lewe te gee” (11:18).
Lenski som dit goed op: “Luke devotes so much space to the story of Cornelius because it marks a new departure in the work of the apostels. What had been indicated by the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is fully established by the baptism of Cornelius and of his household. The eunuch went his way, but these Gentiles in Caesarea remained and thus formed the vanguard of the great army of Gentiles that soon entered the church” (Lenski p 393).
Binne hierdie verhaallyn speel die gebeure van 10:44-48 'n gelangrike rol. Volgens vers 44 klink dit asof die Heilige Gees Petrus in die rede val en sonder meer almal wat na die Woord geluister het, beweeg tot lofprysing. En dit gebeur boonop op so 'n wyse dat Petrus en sy metgeselle herken dat dit soortgelyk is aan die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees waarvan Lukas in Handelinge 2 vertel. (Vergelyk Petrus se verslag volgens 11:15.)
Dis interessant om na Petrus se rol in die verhaal te kyk. Hoewel die verhaal aan die naam van Kornelius gekoppel word, word hier veel meer van Petrus vertel as van Kornelius. Maar eintlik is die aktiewe persoon in hierdie verhaal nie Petrus nie, maar God, die Heilige Gees. Petrus se optrede is grootliks 'n gewillige tree vir tree volg op die leiding van God terwyl dit terugskouend duidelik word dat Petrus nie vooraf regtig verstaan het waarheen God met hom op pad was nie. Tereg word daar van 'n dubbele bekering in hierdie verhaal gepraat. Kornelius het die Heilige Gees ontvang en is gedoop, maar dit is Petrus wat aanskou hoe God se vrymagtige genade werk en tot nuwe insigte kom.
Al die voorafgaande opmerkings moet binne die konteks van die historiese situasie van Handelinge 2 tot 9 interpreteer word. Dit is nie moeilik om beskrywings van hierdie tyd te vind nie. Die maklikste is om gewoon die eerste hoofstukke van handelinge te lees en op te let wat hier van die eerste gelowiges na vore kom.
Enkele opmerkings oor die Joodse gelowiges van die eerste gemeente in Jerusalem:
·Hulle het geglo dat Jesus die Messias was (vgl 2:20, 31, 36,38; 3:6, 18, 10; 4:10, 26; 5:42)
·Omdat die beloofde Messias gekom het, het hulle aanvaar dat hulle in die laaste dae leef.
·Die Joodse gemeenskap waaruit hulle gekom het en waar binne hulle nog geleef het, het 'n ekslusiewe interpretasie van die Ou Testamentiese boodskap dat Israel God se unieke volk is, aangehang.
·Hoewel daar vroeg reeds ernstige kritiek hierteen gelewer is (vgl Stefanus se toespraak in Hand 7), was daar 'n groot getal gelowiges wat steeds die eksklusiewe posisie van Israel erken het – insluitend die gedagte dat heidene alleen op God se seëninge kan aanspraak maak deur proseliet-jode te word.
In 'n insiggewende artikel oor die gemeenskap waarbinne die eerste gelowiges hulleself bevind het, skryf Dr. J. Julius Scott die volgende: “Experiences of Gentile domination in the late monarchy, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., and the threats from Hellenistic culture from the fourth century B.C. onward served to harden Jewish attitudes against Gentiles. They also stimulated the growth of protectionistic and isolationistic barriers and attitudes against all but essential associations with Gentiles. The OT commands include circumcision, Sabbath, and kosher regulations. During the Intertestamental period special emphases was placed upon these three and other prohibitions -- including restrictions upon dining companions (an issue specifically raised in Acts 11:3). They had been turned, first, into instruments for protection of racial, cultural, national, and religious identity, and then, into emblems of Jewish superiority, privilege, and exclusivism. Post Biblical Judaism displayed a variety of attitudes toward non-Jews, almost all negative. Gentiles were godless, idolatrous, unclean and rejected by God. Dealings with them made Jews unclean.
The implications of all this on the question of suitable candidates for Christian "salvation," entering a favorable relationship with God, must be stressed. Without information to the contrary, many in the Jerusalem Church, would assume the requirements for admission into their Messianic community would include that Gentiles become proselytes to Judaism” (sien inligting oor artikel onder aan).
Hieruit word dit duidelik dat die Kornelius verhaal as ernstige kritiek op die status quo funksioneer. Die Gees van die opgestane Christus neem sy volgelinge oor grense heen van Jerusalem na Judea, na Samaria en na die uithoeke van die wêreld (vgl hand 1:8). In sy studie waarin Müller die hele Kornelius verhaal vanuit 'n sendingperspektief lees, maak hy die volgende opmerking: “Sending het te make met die hoe en waar vandag ruimtes kan vrykom om aan hierdie oormatige en vrye leiding van die Gees uitdrukking te gee. Hierdie perikoop sê dit is ruimtes wat in gehoorsaamheid oopgebeur word. Dit verg 'n dubbele gehoorsaamheid: om te luister na die stem van God en om te luister na die stem van die wagtende broer en suster.” (1996 p 31). Hoewel dit jare gelede geskryf is, het hierdie insig groot trefkrag binne die konteks van die NG Kerk se fokus op 'n seisoen van luister. Daar kan nie van outentieke gehoorsaamheid gepraat word voor daar nie goed geluister is nie. Ons kan ook nie sê ons het goed na die Gees geluister as ons nie terselfdertyd goed na ons broers en susters geluister het nie. Wie luister en wie gehoorsaam is, sal moontlik soos Petrus geroep word om grense oor te steek.
Die vraag is: Kan ons mee-gaan wanneer die Gees met sy kerk op weg gaan? Kan ons nog deur die Heilige Gees verras word? Om Heroldt weer aan te haal: “Uit die voortgaande verhaal van die lewende God wat oral steeds op weg is en nie witbroodjies het nie, blyk dat die kerk kan verwag om uitgedaag te word, om selfs teen hul sin meegesleep te word en desnoods 'n bekering mag ondergaan” (1995 p 92). Tereg kan die kerk dit in elke nuwe situasie en elke nuwe geslag te wagte wees – die vraag is: is ons sensitief genoeg om op een of ander manier meegesleep te word, of is ons so seker van onsself, so seker oor ons posisie, so vas oortuig dat ons die waarheid reeds beet het, dat ons eintlik onbeweeglik geword het?
Wanneer ons vra na die lees en verkondiging van hierdie verhaal binne die Paastyd, bied Heroldt se opsomming 'n belangrike perspektief: “Uit die strekking van die verhaal en die plasing daarvan in Handelinge kan aangetoon word dat die opstanding van Jesus en die op-weg-wees van God ten nouste by mekaar hoort” (1995 p 92). Indien ons die RCL volg en hierdie Skrifgedeelte op die 6de Sondag van Paastyd aan die orde stel, gee dit die prediker die geleentheid om vanuit die opstanding van Jesus die vraag van God se op weg wees met ons te ontsluit.
Vir meeste van ons is die onbekende bedreigend en sien ons ons veiligheid in die bekende of status quo. Dis nie maklik om uit jou “gemaksone” te beweeg nie! Soveel te meer wanneer ons reeds voos is van vorige ervarings van blootstelling of drastiese verandering wat vir ons dalk meer pyn as vreugde gebring het.
Binne hierdie konteks kan die troosvolle en vrymakende boodskap verkondig word dat Jesus opgestaan het en dat Hy leef. Een van die sterk argumente dat sy opstanding 'n werklikheid is, is juis die dramatiese wyse waarop 'n klompie bang, onseker dissipels verander het in vrymoedige getuies vir Jesus! En hiervan is Petrus 'n sprekende voorbeeld.
Die verdere konteks wat in die prediking en erediens van hierdie Sondag verreken moet word, is dat die derde Sondag in Mei sedert die vroeë tagtigerjare as Aids Memorial Sunday bekend geword het. Die afgelope jare word dit al wyer (internasionaal) deur kerke erken. Daarom is dit noodsaaklik dat ons ook hier in Suid-Afrika, waar die vigspandemie se brandpunt is, sal aandag gee aan Vigsherdenkingsondag. Anders as Wêreldvigsdag, wat 'n spesifieke datum het (1 Desember – hopelik gee die gemeente hieraan aandag), is Vigsherdenkingsondag spesifiek op 'n Sondag.
Omdat die dag op 'n Sondag plaasvind, is dit by uitstek 'n dag waarby kerke en gemeentes kan aansluit. Dit gaan om veel meer as die “aansteek van kerse”. Die naam “memorial day” gee aan ons die geleentheid om te fokus op die impak van MIV en vigs in die lewens van individue sowel as gemeentes en gemeenskappe. Dis 'n geleentheid wat alle Christene kan gebruik om prakties te demonstreer dat ons almal deur die vigspandemie geaffekteer word. “As een lid ly, ly al die lede saam; en as een lid geëer word, is al die lede saam bly” (1 Kor 12:26).
Vigsherdenkingsondag vestig ons aandag op die werklikheid dat ons te make het met ’n pandemie wat mense se lewens kortknip. Om aan 'n vigsverwante siekte te sterf, het vir baie beteken dat hulle deur hulle gemeenskap (soms selfs familie!) verstoot is. Dit gebeur nog steeds! Daarom is dit nodig dat hulle wat so gesterf het, sowel as hulle wat met MIV leef, se volle menswaardigheid erken word. Dis dringend nodig dat mense wat met MIV leef en hulle wat direk hierdeur geraak word, beleef dat die kerk 'n genesende gemeenskap is. Daarom is Vigsherdenkingsondag nie 'n dag vir sydelingse klappe, verwyte of beskuldigings nie. Terwyl daar elke Sondag geleentheid is om die Woord vermanend te verkondig – ook ten opsigte van morele waardes en leefwyses – is hierdie Sondag in die eerste plek 'n dag van teenwoordig wees by hulle wat seer het en swaar kry. Dis 'n dag om die arm om iemand se skouer sit. 'n Dag om saam te treur. 'n Dag om te troos.
In die lig hiervan kan die Kornelius verhaal sinvol verkondig word. Dis nie nodig om kunsmatige ooreenkomste te soek tussen die situasie in Sesarea in die situasie van die vigspandemie nie. Ek dink die ooreenkoms lê eerder in God se beweging na mense. Wanneer Petrus in hierdie huis (wat voorheen deur sy eie tradisie vir hom toegesluit was) kom, kondig hy aan dat hy die “evangelie van vrede wat Jesus Christus gebring het” (vers 36) kom verkondig. Wanneer hy nog hiermee besig is, val die Heilige Gees op hierdie Romeine en binne 'n oogwenk verdwyn alle skyn van minderwaardigheid en staan hierdie Romeine op gelyke voet met Joodse gelowiges. Voorwaar 'n evangelie van vrede – shalom – heelmaking!
Die vigsforum van die NGK familie stel riglyne op vir Vigsherdenkingsondag. Doen moeite om hiervan kennis te neem en om selfs 'n spesiale (interkerklike) diens op hierdie Sondag te reël/ by te woon. CABSA stel hierdie en ander riglyne beskikbaar op ons webblad: www.cabsa.org.za. Of vra inligting aan vanaf firstname.lastname@example.org
Laastens behoort die prediker ook die volgende vraag te oorweeg: hoe fokus preek 'n mens op hierdie perikoop (verse 44-48) sonder om eintlik oor die hele Kornelius verhaal te preek? Ek dink nie dit sal sinvol wees om by dié geleentheid op die verskillende wyses van die Heilige Gees werk, te fokus nie. Op soorgelyke wyse is hierdie Sondag ook nie die geleentheid om oor die verskillende menings rondom die doop te preek nie. In aansluiting by die voorafgaande bespreking sal dit veel meer sin maak om op God se vrye, verrassende werking in hierdie verse te fokus.
(Die voorstel wat hier volg, is spesifiek ook bedoel om by Vigsherdenkingsondag aan te sluit. Maar daar word nie baie inhoudelike vulling hieraan gegee nie. Ek stel voor dat daar na die preek geleentheid gegee word vir gebed en/of simboliese handelinge as deel van die gemeente se meelewing in hierdie tyd van MIV en vigs. Anders sal wat in die preek gesê word in die lug bly hang!)
As gemeente van Jesus Christus deel ons aan 'n wonderlike verlossing. Vanaf Advent tot nou is ons op verskillende maniere deur die kerklike jaar aan die wonder van ons verlossing in Christus Jesus herinner. So lief het God die wêreld gehad dat Hy sy Seun gestuur het. So lief het God die wêreld gehad dat Hy sy Seun as offer gegee het. So lief het God die wêreld gehad dat Hy sy Seun uit die graf opgewek het.
Dit weet ons, bely ons, verkondig ons. Maar die vraag is of ons dit verstaan en ook werklik bedoel?
Dit gebeur so maklik dat ons, sonder dat ons mooi besef, hierdie evangelie ombuig om al meer op onsself te fokus en uiteindelik ander mense uit te sluit. Dit kan stelselmatig gebeur: “So lief het God die kerk gehad, so lief het God ons gemeente gehad, so lief het God vir ons. So lief het God net vir ons en vir mense wat soos ons is....”
Dit is wat met Israel in die tyd na die Ou Testament afgesluit is, gebeur het. Die Judaïsme het die Ou Testamentiese boodskap dat God Israel se God is tot 'n oortuiging verhef wat ander mense uitgesluit het. Die enigste wyse waarop “heidene” in God se seëninge kon deel, was om die proseliete pad te stap. Prakties het dit beteken dat hulle Jode moes word. Dit was die situasie in die tyd van Jesus se bediening en toe die eerste gemeente in Jerusalem ontstaan het.
Baie Jode wat tot geloof in Jesus gekom het, het steeds so gedink. Daarom het hierdie gedagtes 'n groot rol in die eerste gemeente in Jerusalem gespeel. Maar so lief het God Romeinse burgers gehad dat Hy vir Petrus gebruik het sodat Cornelius en sy familie en sy vriende die Heilige Gees en die Doop in die naam van Christus ontvang het.
Die verhaal is bekend. Die gedeelte waarop ons vandag fokus, beklemtoon dat God die een is wat in hierdie verhaal optree. Petrus was nog aan die praat, toe val die Heilige Gees al op die Romeine. Petrus en sy metgeselle is deur hierdie vrye genade van God verras. Die ander gelowiges in Jerusalem is hierdeur ontstel. Gelukkig het hulle later tot beter insigte gekom.
Vandag is die sesde Sondag in Paastyd. Vandag kom sê hierdie verhaal vir ons dat Jesus se opstanding nie iets is wat eenmaal gebeur het en daarom in die geskiedenisboeke hoort nie. Sy opstanding is steeds 'n werklikheid en dit beteken dat God vandag nog op weg is in die wêreld. God was in Jerusalem, maar God was ook op weg na Rome. God is in sy gemeente. Ja, maar God is steeds op weg deur die wêreld wat hy liefhet.
Vandag is ook die Sondag waarop kerke dwarsoor die wêreld stil word rondom die verskiklike gevolge van die vigspandemie. Ons het pas gesê dat God deur die wêreld op weg is. Kan dit wees dat iets soos Vigsherdenkingsondag deel is van God se op weg wees in die wêreld?
Is God daar waar kerke aandag gee aan mense wat seer het en wat treur? Is God daar waar gemeentes na mense uitreik wat eensaamheid, verwerping en vernedering (m a w stigma) ervaar? Is God daar waar 'n arm om iemand se skouer gesit word, waar iemand se hand in gebed gevat word? Is God daar waar die evangelie van vrede, van shalom, van herstel verkondig word aan gemeenskappe wat gebuk gaan onder die gevolge van MIV en vigs?
As ons iets ontdek het van die Heilige Gees se vrye beweging in ons teks, kan ons nie anders as om te sê: Ja, God is daar! God is waar sy gemeente bymekaar kom, en God is ook op weg in die wêreld!
Maar daar is nog 'n vraag: As God dan daar op weg is – waar is jy?
Kan God ook vir jou, soos vir Petrus op 'n onbekende pad neem om jou te verras? Kan God jou lei waar jy nie verwag het nie? – Petrus het gevolg. Sal jy volg?
Werke wat aangehaal is:
Heroldt, S J. Handelinge 10:34-43, in CW Burger, BA Müller, DJ Smit (reds). Verdere riglyne vir Paas-, Hemelvaart- en Pinsterprediking. Lux Verbi, 1995;
Müller, B A. Handelinge 10:1-11:18, in CW Burger, BA Müller, DJ Smit (reds). Riglyne vir Sendingrediking tussen Pinkster en Advent, Lux Verbi, 1996;
Lenski, R C H. The interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.
Krodel, G A. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament. Acts. 1986.