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UCAN Stop AIDS eNews - January 2008

 In this issue:

Upcoming in 2008:

Feb 7               Black HIV/AIDS 
                       Awareness Day

July 31 - Aug 2  Ecumenical Pre-Conference 
to the International AIDS 
                       Conference (Mexico City)

Aug 3 - 8          International AIDS 
                       Conference (Mexico City)


 Donate Now to UCAN!

Health and Wholeness Advocacy
Wider Church Ministries
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
(216)736-3218  /  1-866-8224, ext. 3218
ucan@ucc.org    www.ucc.org/health/hivaids

Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive
Rev. Lori Tisher, Intern


Reflections on a New Year
 written by Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer

At the end of 2007, UNAIDS reported that the number of persons living with HIV worldwide had been over estimated, reducing the estimate to 33 million (from 40 million).  That is heartening news, especially when coupled with other news about a stabilization of infection rates in some parts of Africa and other places that have been hit so hard by this disease.  However, such news should not lull us into complacency. A closer look at reports from UNAIDS, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and others indicates that in order to continue to turn the tide on HIV, we will need to continue to step up our efforts, particularly in terms of education and prevention, coupled with universal access to treatment and care. 

In the U.S., there are population groups, such as young gay men, where AIDS is making an alarming comeback.  And we continue to see high rates of infection among African American/black women.  We know that HIV does not discriminate, but it does expose those who are most vulnerable in our society.  Our outreach efforts must be targeted to reach these vulnerable groups.  As I reflect on the new year and the HIV and AIDS ministries of the United Church of Christ and UCAN (United Church of Christ HIV/AIDS Network), it will be critical for us to

  • help congregations with their education and prevention efforts with effective resources and training;

  • encourage everyone to have an HIV test; and

  • support advocacy efforts to ensure increased funding, domestic and international, for universal access to treatment and care, including the reauthorization of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) and the PATHWAY Act (H.R. 1713 and S. 2415).

I hope that you will join us in these efforts and I thank you for your interest in and support of our HIV and AIDS ministries!

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 7, 2008

February 7, 2008 marks the eighth annual
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!

For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the face of such a stark reality, we celebrate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in order to motivate our African American sisters and brothers to get tested and know their HIV status; get educated about the transmission modes of HIV/AIDS; get involved in their local community; and get treated if they are currently living with HIV or are newly diagnosed. All of these goals will help build capacity and increase awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among African Americans. 

What are you doing for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?  Start planning now! Don't forget to get educated, get tested, get involved and get treated this year on February 7th! For more information: www.blackaidsday.org


CDC Extends HIV Prevention Strategic Plan Through 2010

In 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a four year strategic plan for HIV prevention.  This plan was used to identify new and expanded prevention programs and initiatives, establish priorities and direct and target resources. 

According to the CDC, the 2001 Plan was never fully implemented and progress did not accelerate at the desired rate through 2005, yet the CDC does remain committed to HIV prevention and reducing the number of HIV infections (www.cdc.gov). 

A new long-range plan is currently being developed, which will guide the work of the CDC through 2020.  In the meantime, the CDC has also developed an Extended HIV Prevention Plan, which will guide the agency's efforts until 2010.  This Extended Plan will aim at reducing the number of new HIV infections, particularly among gay men and African-Americans; increasing knowledge of HIV status; promoting linkages to care, treatment, and prevention services; addressing stigma and discrimination; promoting the use of rapid HIV tests; addressing the role of acute infection in HIV transmission; and increasing routine HIV testing in medical settings.

To view the complete report: www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/reports/psp/pdf/psp.pdf


Resignation and New Call for Health and Wholeness Advocacy Intern

Rev. Lori Tisher, Intern for the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office (HWA), has accepted a new call to serve as Minister of Youth and Young Adults at First Congregational Church, UCC in Columbus, OH.  This sadly means that she must resign from her position with HWA, effective January 18, 2008.  Lori has been a great gift to the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office, Wider Church Ministries and Global Ministries.  Her leadership was especially important during the recent sabbatical of Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, HWA Executive.  Her deep faith, passion for justice, dedication to global ministry and caring spirit have been and will continue to be a gift to the church.  We wish her many blessings and will miss her!