Who we are
International AIDS Ministries, a program of International Health and Development, enables Presbyterians in the United States and church and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for individuals, congregations and communities that are infected and affected by the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS.
International AIDS Ministries works with church partners overseas, with mission co-workers and with Presbyterians in the United States to respond to the AIDS crisis through prevention activities, home-based care and care for orphan and vulnerable children.
- Prevention: The focus is on education and behavior change programs that addresses cultural and tradition practices, myths and gender inequality. The programs provide factual information regarding HIV and AIDS to youth, women, pastors, lay leaders and community health workers. Additionally, women are taught income-generating activities in order to feed their families to eliminate the need for transactional sex. Work with seminaries and theological institutions to develop and incorporate HIV and AIDS curriculum into coursework in order to provide accurate information and therefore reduce the stigma and discrimination toward people living with AIDS.
- Care: PCUSA became involved with home-based care early in the AIDS crisis. At first it was a domestic response that grew into an international need. In 2008, there was a shift from distributing home-based care kits overseas to providing direct funding to church partners to purchase supplies within the local economy, reduce delivery time, and to be better stewards of funds by redirecting the transportation costs of shipping and port fees to support programs. Funds also go to train volunteers to provide home-based care services to infected individuals and to affected family members.
- Care for Children: The focus is on community-based child care which includes a broad range of interventions designed to assist vulnerable families and children at the community level. Interventions may include payment of school fees, nutritional meals, participation in basic education and tutoring programs or counseling within the Christian context. The strength of community-based care programs is the connection of vulnerable children to the local congregation and engagement of the entire village in the care of these children.
It’s a matter of faith
Africa stands to lose an entire generation to the AIDS epidemic that is sweeping the continent. In some pockets of sub Saharan Africa, up to 20 percent of the population is infected with the virus that causes the disease.
The crisis is cause for despair, but for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s African church partners it also is a matter of faith and a call to action. They are offering prevention programs, providing home-based patient care and tending to parentless children. Their material resources for ministry are modest, but their hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ is boundless. As one of the most influential institutions in Africa, the church is in a position to make a huge difference in the battle against AIDS. African leaders take heart in the experience in Uganda, where the HIV infection rate was cut from 13 to 4 percent through a massive education campaign.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shares the conviction that the AIDS crisis in Africa is indeed a matter of faith. The 216th General Assembly (2004) urged Presbyterians to put their faith into action by contributing to Extra Commitment Opportunities that address the AIDS crisis in Africa and around the world. In phase one of the effort, the PC(USA) is emphasizing ministry in Africa, where the AIDS crisis is most severe.
"It’s a Matter of Faith" materials are available at no cost from the church store.