Writen by Rev. Steve Poteete-Marshall
Chair of the HIV/AIDS task force of the Cal-Pac Conference
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete; be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Phillipians 2:1-2
World AIDS Day is December 1.
I had the opportunity to attend the Breaking Barriers Conference from October 25-27, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This conference was sponsored by the United Methodist Global AIDS fund and it was a gathering of God’s people working for an AIDS-free world.
We heard stories from those working with HIV/AIDS folks in Indiana, and the world medical updates on research, and celebrated the work we are doing together.
We also heard some of the challenges of getting medication to those who seek it, keeping those already on medication to keep taking it, and the violence that is done to those who are HIV+ .
In some places progress is being made, in Kenya where the infection transmission between mother and child is being reduced because of education and support provided by the Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme. We heard how the Stigma of having HIV/AIDS is felt from those in Indiana and is Africa, people are condemned, called names, beaten, told they are going to hell, even after all this time and efforts to educate.
The highlight of the conference was Jeanne White-Ginder the mom of Ryan White, and who is an HIV/AIDS activist. Ryan White’s story was made into a film, but to hear the first hand account of the experience they went through and how people like Michael Jackson, and Elton John helped them educate others, and propelled congress to establish the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990 a fund that provides grants to improve the quality and availability of care for individuals and families with HIV.
What we Know: We can end all new infections of HIV/AIDS through current medication.
What We Wish: To see education, medication distribution and cooperation to end HIV/AIDS infections all across the world.