What is HIV and AIDS?
- HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- HIV lives in the blood and other body fluids that contain blood or white blood cells.
- HIV attacks the "T Cells" which are command cells of the immune system, weakening the body's defense against infection.
- Left untreated, persons become vulnerable to opportunistic infections which cause illness and can lead to death.
HIV can be transmitted through:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person.
- Sharing drug injection equipment (needles) or being stuck by needles or sharp objects contaminated with infected blood.
- From mother to child during child birth or through breast feeding if the mother is HIV positive
- Receiving blood products or transplant organs from an HIV positive donor. (This is extremely rare in the U.S. because blood products are routinely screened for HIV.)
HIV and AIDS is a Global Pandemic (the U.S. is part of the globe):
- 33-40 million people are living with HIV worldwide
- 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S.
- 468,000 of them have AIDS
- There are 56,000 people newly infected with HIV each year
- 21% of those infected with HIV don't know it
- More than half of all new infections come from the 21% who do not know their status.
- For more information:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control
- Kaiser Family Foundation: HIV and AIDS
- UNAIDS - the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS
Who is hardest hit in the U.S.?
- People of color, African Americans and Latinos, account for a disproportionate share of HIV infections relative to their population.
- Women of color are particularly affected. Black women accounted for two thirds of new AIDS cases among women in 2007; Latinas represented 15% and white women, 17%.
- Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men accounted for 53% of new HIV infections in 2006
- Younger, especially young men of color are at particularly high risk. Young men between the ages of 13 and 29 accounted for 38%, even higher among young Black men, 52%.
What can we do? Become an HIV Competent Church:
- Join UCAN, the UCC's HIV & AIDS Network
- Provide information, basic HIV 101
- Know your HIV status
- Know the HIV epidemic in your community
- Use the UCC's HIV Prevention Curriculum: Affirming Persons, Saving Lives
- Teach comprehensive sexuality education using Our Whole Lives
- Offer services in collaboration with local agencies for
What is UCAN Doing?
- Capacity building
- Skills building & leadership development
- Training for Affirming Persons, Saving Lives
- Program planning, implementation and evaluation
- Providing technical consultation and assistance
- National U.S. HIV and AIDS plan
- Universal access to treatment, care and prevention
- Human rights
- Collaborating with others around the world, such as Global Ministries and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV and AIDS Campaign
- Global Ministries HIV and AIDS Stories and Projects
- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV and AIDS Campaign
UCAN's Vision Questions:
- How can we put ourselves in the best position to provide critical presence at the points of deepest need in response to HIV and AIDS?
- How can we build meaningful and sustain relationships and participation with UCAN?