World AIDS Day, held annually on Dec. 1, encourages people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show their support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died. World AIDS Day, which started in 1988, was the first ever global health awareness day.
Many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, giving us hope for an eventual cure for the disease someday. But there are still too many people who do not know the important facts about HIV and AIDS, and how to protect themselves and others. Because of ignorance and apathy, too many persons living with HIV still face painful stigma, rejection and discrimination. World AIDS Day reminds us all that the still-deadly disease has not gone away. There is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
Before, during and after World AIDS Day it’s important for everyone to learn the facts about HIV and to put that knowledge into action. Information about the disease can be found on many Websites. http://www.crozerkeystone.org/news/press-releases/2014/november/december-1-is-world-aids-day/.
The 2014 theme for World AIDS Day is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” You can 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. Also, pray each day for HIV/AIDS victims and their caregivers. Want other ideas?
For more ideas and worship resources learn about the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Act of Compassion initiative. [http://www.gbod.org/resources/acts-of-compassion-united-methodist-global-aids-fund] Also see and share the variety of informative short videos. http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/World-AIDS-Day
“A Look at HIV and AIDS,” a videos series created by UM Global Ministries in observance of World AIDS Day, offers a variety of perspectives on AIDS-related stigma. The series invites communities of faith to address the bias attached to those living with HIV and to become more educated and informed.
Through sharing stories of those directly affected by the disease, the series raises challenging questions. For example, if you learned that someone in your community had HIV/AIDS, would you change your behavior around them? Or, if you suspected that you may have been affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, would you hesitate to take an HIV test? These issues bear directly on the stigma attached to the disease.
Download and share these videos, and use them as a platform to foster real conversation about HIV/AIDS in your church or community. You can support this important work by giving to the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, Advance #982345.
Locally, UM Church of the Open Door (http://umcod.org) , 210 South Broad St., Kennett Square, PA, will host a special World AIDS Day worship service Sunday, Nov. 30, at 10:30 AM. [http://www.umcod.org/uploads/9/3/9/1/9391558/worldaidsda2014yflyer-hubofhope.pdf ]
Also, Philadelphia FIGHT, a comprehensive AIDS service organization that provides healthcare and educational services throughout our region, will host a World AIDS Day Prayer Breakfast with speakers and choirs Monday, Dec. 1, at 8 AM. The ceremony, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, located at 237 S. Broad Street, will “lift up hope and healing for those who are living with HIV/AIDS” and also remember those who have passed. Members of the faith-based organization will “recommit to standing with our sisters and brothers in faith, in activism, in reducing stigma, and in enduring love.”
The H.U.B. (Help Us Be) of Hope, led by the Rev. Deborah Tanksley-Brown, [firstname.lastname@example.org] continues its education and advocacy efforts as a training and information resource to churches in our conference. Learn more about the H.U.B. of Hope and visit the ministry’s informative Facebook page.
There are two key ways to make much-needed donations to support their work. Either make checks payable to the UM Global AIDS Fund, identifying Advance Special Project # #982345, and send them to the EPA Conference Treasurer. Or make checks payable to UM Church of the Open Door, which is home base for the mobile H.U.B. of Hope, and note on the check memo line: H.U.B. of Hope. You can mail those donations to UM Church of the Open Door, 210 S. Broad St, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Telephone: (610) 444-2400.
By the way, more HIV/AIDS Awareness days, that focus on particular groups at-risk of, or affected by, the disease, are coming in the first months of the new year: