World AIDS Day is coming December 1, the first Sunday in Advent and it is an excellent opportunity to refresh and renew our global solidarity in the mission to end the HIV epidemic. As a season full of hope and promise, Advent offers just the right tone for observing World AIDS Day in 2013. It is a time to take stock of where we are on the journey to end AIDS, remember by name those who have gone before, and take actions to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
The theme for World AIDS Day through 2015 is, Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections; Zero AIDS-related deaths; and Zero stigma and discrimination.
The hope and promise that surround HIV and AIDS is that we not only have significant medical science to stop the spread of HIV, we also have a very good sense of what to do globally (including in the U.S.) to end the epidemic. There is a light at the end of the HIV and AIDS tunnel, but whether that light gets brighter or fades very much depends on the response of the faith community. The global AIDS response is calling on us to access our full capacity in bold, committed actions that prioritize the elimination of stigma and dramatically increase access to information, education and services, including HIV testing.
The S.A.V.E methodology is an excellent, holistic approach for faith communities to use. If focuses on
- Safer practices
- Access to Treatment
- Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT
On World AIDS Day, UCAN asks every United Church of Christ local church and all other settings to do at least 2 very basic things:
- Acknowledge World AIDS Day in your Sunday bulletin on December 1 and any related PowerPoint presentations, newsletters and social media.
- Support an organization dedicated and engaged in Getting to Zero with a financial gift and/or by volunteering your time.
UCAN, the United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network is one such organization. Since 1988, UCAN has been providing leadership in comprehensive HIV prevention, addressing stigma, offering pastoral service to persons living with and affect by HIV and AIDS, advocating for access to treatment and care, and increasing the capacity of the faith response in the U.S. and internationally.
UCAN is an independent 501c3 organization, affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Although UCAN receives modest support from the United Church of Christ national offices for administration, staff and program, the capacity of UCAN to realize its mission is dependent on the financial gifts of all those who share UCAN’s mission and vision. Whether it is in gifts of $10, $1,000, or more, it is such giving that makes UCAN’s ministry possible. As part of your World AIDS Day observance, please make a tax-deductible donation to UCAN today.
Learn more about UCAN and World AIDS Day, and donate online at www.ucaninc.org.