On World AIDS Day 2014 UNAIDS is calling on the gap to be closed between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services, and those who do not and who are being left behind. You can learn more about the campaign here.
Anglican churches and partners around the world are involved in activities for World AIDS Day this year – below are just some examples of how they are responding.
In Hong Kong…
St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong has organised a short film competition in which secondary school students have been asked to produce a three minute film on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination in their community. Through this short film contest, with the theme ‘Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS related Deaths’, they aim to bring young people together to combat HIV/AIDS and to create a non-discriminatory society for those who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Watch the films here
Learn more about St John’s HIV Centre here
In El Salvador…
The Committee Against AIDS (CoCoSI), a PWRDF partner in El Salvador, has carried out crucial AIDS education, advocacy and accompaniment work in rural communities. CoCoSI is an organisation made up of and run by youth and young adults. In 2010 CoCoSI was one of 25 community-based groups from around the world involved in education, prevention and advocacy to receive international recognition through a Red Ribbon Award from the United Nations HIV/AIDS Program.
CoCoSi sent the following message to PWRDF, which was shared at a World AIDS Day worship held in the chapel at Church House, Toronto, Canada, on November 27, 2014:
CoCoSI and PWRDF have contributed to improving living conditions for more than 70 persons living with HIV, who are also from the most impoverished and marginalized populations in rural El Salvador. Currently CoCoSI provides educational opportunities to two Self Help Groups of 53 persons living with HIV; furnishing tools that have enabled them to live healthy lives by learning the importance of self-care and living free from re-infection. Members of these groups have improved self-esteem; they understand the importance of gender equality, of preventing gender based violence and bullying. The people from these two Self-Support Groups are empowered with knowledge of how to advocate for their human rights before governmental agencies. Many have benefited by receiving economic assistance for monthly medical appointments, their laboratory work and acquiring their Anti-Retroviral Meds (ARV’s). Some people were even helped in repairing their leaky roofs, getting water to their little shacks or being relocated to escape gang violence and discrimination. CoCoSI is proud to participate in your commemoration of International AIDS Day and we want you to know that these people would not have had these opportunities without the tireless support of PWRDF. From the bottom of our hearts – Mil Gracias! (MANY THANKS!)
In South Africa…
Churches have often highlighted how HIV/AIDS is regularly both the result and the cause of gender-based violence and results from attitudes towards women that demean them and deny their human dignity.
In South Africa churches and survivor movements have been speaking out about sexual violence and, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, today they ask that you remember in your prayers all those impacted by HIV and AIDS, especially those who have been infected with HIV as a result of sexual violence.
Read the full resource for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence from the We Will Speak Out coalition here
Learn more about how churches and survivors of sexual violence in South Africa are mobilising here.
In Bangladesh …
The Church of Bangladesh observed the World Aids Day in 17 different districts of Bangladesh.
In the United Kingdom…
World AIDS Day will be marked today in Canterbury by a series of events organised by Kent Community Health National Health Service Trust.
This year a candlelit Red Ribbon Route walk has been organised which will start at 5.30pm from The Gate Clinic at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Walkers will make their way through Canterbury, stopping at various points, and finishing at the Cathedral Gate. There they will be met by The Royal Destiny Choir for songs and a collection, after which a service will take place in the Cathedral’s Eastern Crypt at 8pm.
Photo credit: The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund