A165: HIV/AIDS Health Ministry Education
This post is part two of a series of posts highlighting General Convention resolutions passed in 2012 that are relevant to the work of National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) and National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC).
Resolution A165 affirms the importance of HIV and AIDS ministry in the Church and urges parish health ministry programs to include HIV and AIDS education as a component of their ongoing programming. This resolution also calls on National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC) and National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) to compile appropriate secular and theological resources for this programming, including, but not limited to, reliable, culturally- and age-appropriate HIV and AIDS prevention materials, with an emphasis on the role of behavior in reducing risks for HIV infection.
HIV and AIDS continues to evolve; a diagnosis of HIV infection does not mean the same as it once did. As our understanding of the disease changes, so do our reactions and our perceptions of its effects. Unfortunately, many who are now at risk do not see an urgent need for prevention in their behavior or exposure to the virus. I have often heard from young people comments about HIV/AIDS being 'manageable' or that if they become infected they can 'just take medicine'.
We have an opportunity to address these misunderstandings and impressions about HIV and AIDS from a health perspective. In educating our parishes and communities on the reality of HIV and AIDS, we will not only encourage appropriate behavior to reduce risk, but address issues of stigma as well. I believe that our health ministry programs already at work in parishes are an ideal mechanism through which to conduct these efforts. Resolution A165 urges HIV and AIDS education to be included in our health ministry programs.
* Photo by TeachAIDS