fight the spread of HIV while observing World AIDS Day—an international campaign
launched in 1988 to improve HIV/AIDS awareness and education.
HIV/AIDS at home and abroad,” President Bush said.
where he would discuss the global AIDS epidemic with Rick Warren and other
evangelical leaders, Bush announced that his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR) was succeeding.
said. “PEPFAR is the largest international health initiative dedicated to a
single disease … and it is bringing hope and healing to people around the
in five years, PEPFAR had exceeded its mission, Bush said. “The American people,
through PEPFAR, are supporting lifesaving treatment [worldwide],” he said.
“We've also supported care for more than 10 million people affected by HIV,
including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children.”
virus, including 2.5 million children, the United Nations Joint Program on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reports that about half of the millions infected last year are
25 years old or younger.
Monday to reduce the stigma attached to people who are HIV-positive, one major
U.S. denomination announced its own plan to help dispel negative
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will be voluntarily tested for
HIV/AIDS at an upcoming convention.
the bishops’ actions will be presented as an opportunity for the church to raise
awareness about HIV/AIDS “prevention, testing, treatment, care, stigma and
local events on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.”
bishops can help encourage all people to ‘know their status’ by being tested and
help break down the stigma surrounding the disease,” ELCA leaders said in a
Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, said the willingness of African religious
leaders to publicly declare that they’ve been tested is helping to lessen stigma
associated with the disease.
and encouragement for ELCA members and global companions,” Hanson said. “This
decision by ELCA bishops is one more sign of this church's commitment to respond
to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.” —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli