August 16, 2021
Discussion on HIV/Aids Awareness is not new. Many people first became aware of this health crisis during the 1980s. With the worldwide push for us to learn about the disease and how it impacts the lives of people around the world, musicians banded together for a concert. Since that time, the push for a cure and public awareness has never stopped.
National Faith HIV/Aids Awareness Day was founded in 2017. The organization RAHMA (whose name is the Arabic word for “mercy'') instituted an annual day of awareness. They say, “It is important to have mercy and compassion when supporting those living with HIV and spearheading educational efforts.” (http://haverahma.org/what-we-do). Mercy and justice, through compassion, are primary teachings of Jesus. In the ELCA, we know that it is our call to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world; Advocacy is often how we answer that call.
This year faith advocacy day will be recognized Sunday, August 29th. “The observance is intended to engage faith communities to work together for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, treatment, care and support, and to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination.” (https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/faith). At The Table we will partner with Vanderbilt Medical Center to host a gathering for folks to learn about the status of the vaccine, gain resources to testing and healthcare, and ask questions to further their understanding of how much stigma and misinformation surrounds this disease.
Finally, you are invited to explore more about this advocacy effort and how the ELCA is involved in doing our part to care for those who suffer along with their loved ones. I encourage you to visit the resources below to further your understanding and then, hopefully, become part of National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.