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UM Global AIDS Committee Summer 2023 Newsletter: The Most for the Least (Church & Society)

2023 Summer Newsletter from the UMC Global AIDS Committee

July 12, 2023

A Word from Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Chair of the UMC Global AIDS Committee:

The words of Jesus to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew remind us that when we serve those in need, we are serving Christ himself.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matt 25:35-40)

Often, when we use the saying “serving God,” we may think of being used by God or working for God. The interesting thing about this scripture from Matthew is that Jesus describes “serving God” as though God is the one we are directly serving. He says we fed, clothed, visited who? GOD.

This certainly is a challenging scripture isn’t it? What Jesus says is that when we look at those in need, we are looking at Jesus. That changes things doesn’t it? I mean, if we heard a voice asking us for change and turned around and saw God, how might we respond? It’s easy to dismiss a person, but much harder to dismiss the person of God, amen?

If we truly saw God, could we ignore his cries for help? Could we walk away? Could we hold tight to what is rightfully ours and simply carry on with our daily lives?

Likewise, how might we respond those who suffer from HIV and AIDS if we look at them and see Christ staring back at us? Perhaps in seeing Christ, we might do more to ease their suffering.

There is much work to be done if we are to rid the world of HIV and AIDS. The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee is dedicated to serve Christ in this mission. Will you? Be encouraged!

Spotlight on the Caribbean

The Caribbean is the second most-affected region in the world after Africa, with an HIV prevalence of 1.6%. There were 330,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean at the end of 2005. Around 22,000 were children under the age of 15. Adult women make up 51% of the total number of people living with HIV in the region.

An estimated 37,000 people became newly infected with HIV in 2005. AIDS is the leading cause of death among adults aged 15-44 and claimed an estimated 27,000 lives in 2005. Overall less than one in four (23%) of people in need of antiretroviral therapy were receiving treatment in 2005.

HIV infection levels have decreased in urban parts of Haiti and have remained stable in neighboring Dominican Republic. Expanded access to antiretroviral treatment in the Bahamas and Barbados appears to be reducing AIDS deaths. (Source: UNAIDS)

Meet United Methodist Global Aids Committee Member Kathleen Griffith

Kathleen Griffith is the team lead and a senior technical advisor for the United Methodist Church Global Ministries’ Global Health unit. The unit is responsible for implementing the Abundant Health Initiative for the denomination’s current Global Health focus.

The team works primarily with central conference health networks, increasing staff capacity, infrastructure and supply systems. In addition, they implement preventive and curative interventions to help manage major health concerns, such as infectious disease, malaria, HIV and AIDS, and high maternal, newborn and child (MNCH) mortality rates.

Kathleen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She is a nurse/midwife who first practiced in Southern Africa and then worked as an MNCH program manager in Central Asia for 10 years. She moved permanently to the United States in 2008, working with Global Ministries for much of the time since then, and lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Etta Mae Mutti remembered for AIDS activism

By David Burke, Content Specialist, Great Plains Conference UMC

Bishop Fritz Mutti and his wife, Etta Mae, arrived in the Kansas East and West conferences in 1992, not long after the loss of two of their sons, both to AIDS. “They made no secret of that – in fact they led with that,” recalled retired Great Plains Conference treasurer Rev. Gary Beach, whom Bishop Mutti later appointed Flint Hills District superintendent and later director of connectional ministries. “They made themselves very vulnerable, but it improved the perception of people who had AIDS, people who were gay. Thirty-one years ago, the world was a different place,” he added. “She was fierce when it came to AIDS issues.”

According to the World Health Organization:

  • 38.4 million people worldwide lived with HIV in 2021 (the most recent year for data).
  • The same year, 650,000 people worldwide died from HIV-related illnesses.
  • The majority of those living with HIV worldwide in 2021, were adult women (an estimated 19.7 million people).
  • Though the numbers are disheartening, hope remains.
  • Through the efforts of scientists, doctors, researchers, and those of us in the community of faith, an end to HIV and AIDS is possible.

Those of us serving on the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee are committed to do our part. We will pray for those suffering. We will pray for those fighting the virus. We will pray for an end to HIV and AIDS. We will also do all we can to provide spiritual support, education and resources to the world.

May God bless all our efforts. As Christians, we know there is tremendous hope despite our circumstances. The God who can overcome the grave, can overcome HIV and AIDS. There is hope! Be encouraged!

The Latest in HIV and AIDS News…

It’s Time To Overcome Gender Inequality In The Fight Against HIV: AIDS is the leading cause of death among women and girls in Africa, and the third-leading cause of death in women globally. There is a need for gender-responsive policies and programs to address the social and structural drivers of HIV among women and girls.

Sarah Ferguson Reveals Why Princess Diana Wanted to Touch HIV Patients: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, talks about her friendship with Princess Diana and the late royal’s motivation for reaching out to HIV and AIDS patients at a time where they were heavily stigmatized.

Is There a Connection Between Herpes, HIV, and AIDS?: People living with herpes simplex virus are more likely to contract HIV and vice versa. There are some sexual health precautions that can reduce the risk of transmission.

HIV and Aids articles: The New England Journal of Medicine: The New England Journal of Medicine presents information on various topics related to HIV and AIDS, such as clinical trials, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and social aspects.

All HIV and AIDS Articles – Everyday Health: Everyday Health focuses on different aspects of living with HIV and AIDS, such as symptoms, stages, complications, diet, supplements, essential oils, vaccines, and more.

HIV and AIDS Epidemic Global Statistics | The latest global statistics on HIV and AIDS from UNAIDS, such as the number of people living with HIV, accessing treatment, achieving viral suppression, and preventing mother-to-child transmission.

Connect with us!

The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee
Facebook: United Methodist Global AIDS Fund
Instagram: umglobalaidscommittee
Twitter: UMGlobalAIDSCommittee or @UMGAC

Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Help us to see you as we minister to those who are suffering from HIV and AIDS. Help us to do all we can to put an end to this virus. Give us strength to persevere in love. Amen