Advocacy group releases guide for tackling HIV-AIDS in the church

By Ecumenical News International
February 15, 2008

The Geneva-based global network the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has released a new guide entitled: "Exploring Solutions: How to talk about HIV Prevention in the Church", recognising the need to challenge silence and prejudice.

ENI reports: It is aimed at helping Christians to talk openly and accurately, and with compassion about why HIV spreads and what they can do as individuals and communities to stop the transmission of the virus.

"While churches have been leaders in caring for people affected by HIV and AIDS," said Linda Hartke, coordinator of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, "church people and others have often been too silent or judgmental about how people get the virus because it touches on issues like sex and injecting drug use."

In a statement Hartke said, "We hope this guide helps people discuss in a respectful environment not just personal behaviour but conditions in society that make some people much more vulnerable to infection."

The resource guide includes sections explaining the dialogue approach and practical considerations, and outlines five possible themes: dialogue, stigma and HIV prevention; HIV transmission and prevention; vulnerability; sex and sexuality; testing and counselling and steps for promoting life.

The 44-page guide, published by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, is available free of charge in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Copies can be downloaded or ordered at:

More than 100 churches and church-related organizations belong to the alliance that works from Geneva's Ecumenical Centre, where global church and ecumenical organizations such as the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Lutheran World Federation are headquartered.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.]

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