Churches are influential institutions because they are deeply rooted in communities around the world. They can be a force for transformation - bringing healing, hope and accompaniment to all people affected by HIV.
The World Council of Churches Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA) promotes HIV competence among churches and works with theological institutions to integrate and mainstream HIV into theological curricula as well as to address the root causes of the pandemic.
The programme intentionally involves people living with HIV, people with disabilities, adolescents, youth, women, men, grandparents, sex workers, injecting drug users, prisoners, migrants, sexual minorities and other marginalized groups and ensures that church leaders and theologians engage all those who are usually excluded.
Launched in 2002 as the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa, in response to a call from Christians and churches in Africa to the ecumenical fellowship to journey with them in overcoming the HIV pandemic, the programme has demonstrated the efficacy of linking grassroots, national and regional actors with international decision- and policy-makers.
At the WCC 10th Assembly, the programme was given the mandate to expand beyond Africa and become active in Jamaica, the Philippines and Ukraine, countries where churches have requested that the WCC share its African experiences and expertise.