Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day: "Keep the Promise - Take the Lead"

Some facts about HIV and AIDS from the World Health Organization:

Number of people living with HIV in 2007:

  • Total - 33.2 million [30.6–36.1 million]
  • Adults - 30.8 million [28.2–33.6 million]
  • Women - 15.4 million [13.9–16.6 million]
  • Children under 15 years - 2.5 million [2.2–2.6 million]

    People newly infected with HIV in 2007:
  • Total - 2.5 million [1.8–4.1 million]
  • Adults - 2.1 million [1.4–3.6 million]
  • Children under 15 years - 420,000 [350,000–540,000]

    AIDS deaths in 2007:
  • Total - 2.1 million [1.9–2.4 million]
  • Adults - 1.7 million [1.6–2.1 million]
  • Children under 15 years - 330,000 [310,000–380,000]

    From Episcopal Relief and Development:
  • Episcopal Relief and Development remembers people affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. According to the latest UNAIDS statistics, the number of people living with the disease has dropped from close to 40 million to roughly 33 million in 2007. The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Keep the Promise -Take the Lead”, highlighting the need for strong and dedicated leaders from all levels of society to join the effort to prevent and combat this deadly disease.

    Episcopal Relief and Development has HIV/AIDS programs in countries most devastated by the disease such as Honduras, DR Congo, Burundi, Namibia, Peru, Tanzania, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Swaziland, Botswana, El Salvador and many others. Working in partnership with the worldwide Church and ecumenical agencies, Episcopal Relief and Development is committed to fighting HIV/AIDS by offering prevention education and training to vulnerable communities, providing economic opportunities and caring for people living with HIV/AIDS, supporting orphaned children and families left behind and most recently, preventing mother-to-child transmission...

    ... On World AIDS Day, December 1st, you can join millions of people in the fight against HIV/AIDS in your own local community and worldwide. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • Pray for the over 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS and the children and families left behind.
  • Remember the 25 million people who have died of AIDS.
  • Educate yourself and others about the disease and its impact on people everywhere.
  • Give a donation that will help vulnerable people and communities fight this deadly disease.
  • From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

    ...The statistics tell what has become an all too familiar story—namely, that HIV/AIDS devastates society’s most marginalized communities. Among people who are HIV positive, the groups showing the fastest and highest increases within the United States are youth, women, and people of color. We must attend to, and work to change, the ways in which social stigmatization, particularly racism and gender discrimination, serve to exacerbate the spread of this disease.

    All of us are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in bringing God’s hope and healing to those who live with this disease. I am particularly grateful for the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition’s work in challenging the stigma that still haunts this disease. NEAC’s work, along with that of so many others, makes manifest the gift of God’s persistent love. It is as bearers of this love that we are called bring “the oil of gladness instead of mourning.”
    From the Archbishop of Canterbury:

    A hymn:
    Author God, you rewrite stories,
    Turn life’s losses into gain;
    Hope is known when life seems hopeless
    Health arises from the pain…
    God of hope and God of healing,
    Ever turning lives around,
    Come, restore and reinspire us,
    Free the hearts that fear has bound.

    -Rosemary Brown
    Let us pray:

    We humbly beg of you, O God, mercifully to look upon your people as we suffer from AIDS and all other diseases: protect the healthy, calm the frightened, give courage to those in pain, comfort the dying, grant to the dead everlasting life; console the bereaved, bless those who care for the sick, and hasten the discovery of a cure. And finally, O compassionate God, grant that in this and all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in your steadfast love; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


    UPDATE Wormwood's Doxy, who has written or edited much of the material for, the "main gateway to information on Federal domestic HIV/AIDS resources," has offered a post with additional excellent links; An Unhappy Anniversary.

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