On December 1, we join our global ecumenical, interfaith and civic partners in observing World AIDS Day. It is a time to be mindful of our siblings who have been impacted by HIV and AIDS, and to take meaningful action to reduce this plight worldwide.
Take action TODAY to advance meaningful HIV/AIDS policies using the ELCA Action Center.
Though there have been considerable medical advances for addressing HIV and AIDS in the last several years, issues such as access to healthcare, stigma, inequality and other factors have led to increased disparities between groups of people in new HIV and AIDS cases – contrary to o
ur commitment to address racial and gender justice inequities in our communities. As we join together in recognizing World AIDS Day, it is an opportune moment to advocate for transformative policies that address the inequities and barriers that people living with HIV face daily.
Today, consider bringing World AIDS Day acknowledgement and core themes for transformative HIV/AIDS public policy to the attention of your policymakers, congregation and community. These include:
Enhancing U.S. Health Programs: Cities, states, service groups and localities across the country need funding for healthcare and treatment services to support those of us with HIV and AIDS. Programs needing funds, like the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, deliver strong initiatives addressing HIV and AIDS in the United States and provide support services nationwide.
Recognizing Housing is Healthcare: Housing stability, according to data from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, has a large impact on health outcomes and can make a major difference in virus suppression. Holistic treatment of HIV and AIDS is not only about medicine. Programs such as the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program offer housing assistance in the United States to address this critical connection.
Strengthening Global HIV/AIDS Response: As is for all pandemics and epidemics, we will not see an AIDS-free generation domestically unless we also help curb the spread of the virus worldwide and share resources to help treat people living with HIV. The United Nations estimates there were 1.5 million new cases of HIV in 2020, adding to a total of 37.7 million people living with the virus. Many of those impacted do not have access to needed medical services. Programs such as President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund help to provide care and reduce the spread of HIV globally.
Lutherans have been leaders in the movement to address HIV and AIDS for decades: from hosting one of the earliest AIDS health centers in the basement of Georgetown Lutheran Church in the 1970s, to our continued work of raising awareness, and sharing resources to support HIV/AIDS ministries here at home and abroad. “The ELCA’s African Decent Lutheran Association (ADLA) has made advocacy to reduce stigma about HIV/AIDS a top health priority,” stated the Rev. Lamont Wells, ADLA president, who anticipates a campaign to help individuals and congregations gain education, awareness and access to new treatment information that will assist and support communities most affected by increases in new diagnoses. As we near World AIDS Day, join us in prayer, awareness and action to make a meaningful difference to address HIV and AIDS.