Four short videos sharing challenges and examples of how churches and church leaders can make a profound difference in global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat are now available for individual inspiration and group discussion.
Addressing issues of overcoming stigma and discrimination, leading by example in HIV testing, and tackling sensitive issues about human sexuality, the four videos accompany the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee’s pastoral letter, “Churches Recommit to Accelerate HIV Response” adopted in June 2016 and sent to WCC member churches.
The letter, and congregational resources, highlight the hope that AIDS can be eliminated. But to do that requires intensified efforts now, particularly to address the social drivers that increase vulnerability to HIV transmission, such as stigma, gender inequality, violence and poverty. Churches and all faith communities can and should play a leading role in these areas.
As Rev. Rex Reyes, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines states in his video interview, “If we are to be credible in our preaching, then we have to set an example.”
Overcoming obstacles to HIV testing: Dr Manoj Kurian, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, addresses the barriers stigma causes in preventing more than half of those living with HIV from knowing their status, and the role churches and religious leaders should play.
Breaking the myths in the Philippines: Rev. Rex Reyes, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, describes the leadership of religious leaders in taking HIV tests and discussing the issues of sex and sexuality with young people.
Leaders open doors: Rev. Dr Nyambura Njoroge, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical HIV Initiatives and Advocacy, challenges leaders and faith communities to address stigma and discrimination and create safe spaces to talk about difficult subjects.
Raising awareness, addressing fears in Nigeria: Dr Chibuzo Raphael Opoko, bishop of the Methodist Church in Nigeria shares the important role churches have in educating the community and working with government to ensure access to services.