Monday, March 31, 2008

Could You Be That 26%?

We don't hear too much about AIDS these days, but a new fact sheet from the Kaiser Family Fund, reminded me this weekend that we need to continue to be talking about it, preaching about it, educating people about it.

1.2 million Americans are living with HIV disease, and more than 440,000 have AIDS. 40,000 people become infected with the disease each year, a true tragedy for a disease that is nearly if not totally 100% preventable. And 26% of the people with HIV don't know that they have it.

Which means that anyone who has sex with that person may also be at risk. Which means that there needs to be much better education about prevention and that everyone should be protecting themselves -- and getting tested.

Last year, the Religious Institute, with support from PBS, developed a guide for congregations on addressing HIV/AIDS which goes along with a copy of a DVD of their program, "The Age of AIDS." Best of all, it's free to clergy and congregations. Let us know if you would like one.

4 comments:

SisterCoyote said...

Thank you for the reminder. I've been looking for a way to volunteer for my community now that I'm not longer regularly attending Fellowship. Perhaps I'll look into what AIDS resources there are locally and see what if anything they need.

Of course, this means facing my own fear - not of persons with AIDS (who are, after all, people and not a disease), but my fear of my own frailty and how thin the wall is between myself and illness. Not death; illness.

Not on topic, but may I ask - is this fear something you deal with as a minister? How do you deal with it?

Debra W. Haffner said...

Actually, Sister Coyote, I just preached last month about living with our fears at the Unitarian Church in Westport. You can either listen to it or read it at www.uuwestport.org -- look for the link to "Our ministers" and my sermons are with my name.

SisterCoyote said...

Thanks for the tip - I'll add you to my podcasts.

KD Patrick said...

I would like to encourage people to consider helping people living in a forgotten part of the world: the U.S. affiliated Pacific region--American Samoa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam--which suffers enormous health disparities due in part to limited Federal assistance, and in part due to the post-colonial era annual per capita income: for example, it is only $2,900 in the Marshall Islands, and $2,300 in the Federated States of Micronesia. For comparison, the U.S. annual per capita income is $46,000. Even a small donation to the GUAHAN Project (http://www.guahanproject.org/index.php)--the regional AIDS service organization--can make a huge difference in stemming the tide of HIV in these small, culturally rich enclaves that could be destroyed by HIV/AIDS.