The liturgy, which will be translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese, was developed by the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the message during the service will be given by Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha.
More than 680,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2020, and 36.3 million have lost their lives since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s.
A moment of silence will be held for those we have lost, as well as for nearly 12 million children, women and men living with HIV who have yet to receive treatment.
Entrenched inequalities could lead to 7.7 million more AIDS-related deaths during this decade, if decisive steps are not taken. “God, we are reminded of the cost of inaction and neglect,” the liturgy reads.
The service will also remind people that societies are fostering inequalities and harmful gender norms, which are heightening risks of women and girls acquiring HIV and of experiencing disproportionate economic, health and social impacts of both HIV and COVID-19 pandemics.
“We lament that in sub-Saharan Africa six in seven new HIV infections affecting adolescents are among girls,” reads the liturgy.
Prayers will also be lifted up for those who have yet to received a COVID-19 vaccine. While 74% of the administered COVID-19 vaccines worldwide have been given in high, upper and middle-income countries, only 0.7% of doses have been administered in low-income countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 6 to 10% of the population have received vaccinations.
An intercessory prayer will ask God to help us to open our hearts and minds, so that together we will work towards ending stigma and discrimination. “May we be instruments of your compassion and accompaniment to those who are particularly vulnerable to HIV because of the use of drugs, their sexual practices or being incarcerated, and who frequently lack adequate access to services and experience violation of their dignity and rights,” reads the prayer. “We pray that faith communities embrace and accompany all people with the unconditional love and justice of Christ, leading this transformation by example, to keep on track to end AIDS by 2030.”
To read the full message by Canon Gideon Byamugisha for World AIDS Day 2021, click the link below.