New mission toolkit provides resources for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS

 

Now available for PC(USA) World AIDS Sunday, June 24

By Stephanie Caudill | News from Presbyterian World Mission

Cover of HIV/AIDS toolkitLOUISVILLE – A new HIV/AIDS awareness mission toolkit is available just in time for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s World AIDS Sunday, June 24, and National HIV Testing Day, June 27.

The toolkit provides helpful resources for Presbyterians interested in responding to HIV/AIDS in their communities and around the world. Church leaders, including pastors, mission and outreach committees, sessions, youth group leaders and Christian education teachers, will be able to use these resources to better understand HIV/AIDS, how they can support people who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, and why they should act locally and internationally to prevent the resurgence of infections.

Ann Jones, a Presbyterian AIDS Network (PAN) co-moderator, said AIDS awareness is more important than ever. In 2016, approximately 36.7 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to UNAIDS, a global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Proposed 2019 U.S. budget cuts will reduce access to HIV testing and treatment services.

“So many people do not know they are infected,” Jones said. “The United States has done a rather poor job regarding prevention. Actually, after 30-plus years, the incidence is rising in some groups. The stigma still exists, and old laws are in place that enhance the stigma and do not support scientific information. The virus and its spread has been under the radar for several years. Many are now mistakenly believing AIDS is now curable with antiretrovirals.”

PAN has been working for years to encourage congregations to show compassion to people in their community infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

“The struggle in the battle of HIV is far from over,” said George Kerr III, a PAN co-moderator. “As a faith community we have not made it a priority. We need to continue to make our community, local and state government accountable.”

The toolkit is organized into four sections: Learn, Connect, Worship and Act. Presbyterians browsing the site will find reports, stories, articles, curricula, videos, contact information, helpful links and liturgical resources.

“The toolkit is available to all congregations as an excellent resource to eliminate some of the stigma and misinformation, replacing it with reliable information,” Jones said. “Treatment protocols are forever changing, especially regarding prevention and childhood HIV. I hope that the toolkit will be heavily used to honor HIV Awareness Sunday and lead to youth and adults becoming more informed and active both locally and globally.”

For more information about the HIV/AIDS awareness mission toolkit, contact Stephanie Caudill at stephanie.caudill@pcusa.org or 800-728-7228, ext. 5279.


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