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World AIDS Day: a time of remembrance and action

The world community commemorates World AIDS Day December 1 each year.

This day is a valuable time to remember those who have died from HIV or AIDS. It is also an opportunity to share pertinent information about HIV.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2017 is #LetsEndIt, a statement compelling action through advocacy!

We have more tools than ever before to stop the virus. We can, honestly, “end it.” Even so, the statistics about HIV and AIDS continue to be alarming.

According to UNAIDS, 36.7 million people are living with HIV. People living with HIV in developed nations have greater access to education and treatment, which is extending the lives of millions of people. However, only approximately 53 percent of those infected worldwide have access to life-saving (and virus-stopping) drugs. Stigma and discrimination are two factors negatively impacting rates of infection. People do not seek testing and treatment for fear of reprisal.

Hosting a World AIDS Day service, or including prayers in your Sunday worship can help reduce the stigma.

Through the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee, people of faith are receiving education on HIV, as well as ways to take action. UMGAC has created several resources for local congregations and communities to use on World AIDS Day. If your congregation is unable to commemorate World AIDS Day on (or near) Dec. 1, please think of another date in your congregation’s calendar.

UMGAC has additional resources for use year-round.

Our Christian faith compels us to care for the sick and bring abundant life to all God’s people. You are invited to be a part of the journey to create an AIDS-free world!

#LetsEndIt!