In the beginning of my career as a nurse, I worked with AIDS patients through BJC home care. In the early 1980’s many of the patients were very, very sick. It was before treatments had been developed, so many of the clients died with the disease.
Now, while treatments have been developed, there is still a need for awareness and education.
Around the world, about 34 million people are living with HIV. In the United States, about 50,000 people get infected with HIV each year.
It is important that everyone ages 15 to 65 gets tested for HIV at least once. Some people need to get tested more often.
During this month, we raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, encourage people to get tested, and take action to support people living with HIV.
Here are some ideas that people of faith can do during this month:
  1. Have the congregation partner with a local health center to offer free HIV testing for the community.
  2. Host a learning forum with the local public health official to discuss HIV prevention and stigma about HIV/AIDS through zoom.
  3. Host a fundraising event for an organization that supports HIV/AIDS clients.
  4. Include an article in the newsletter to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS and organizations that work with clients.
  5. Wear a red ribbon, the symbol of HIV awareness and support. Tell people why you are wearing it.

   Faith community nurses can serve as a resource to help coordinate and educate the congregation or faith-based agency about HIV/AIDS. There are a variety of resources that can be used. For more information and materials, contact World Aids Day Campaign.

Donna Smith-Pupillo