A Global MULTIFAITH discussion on HIV responses
Foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M Tutu.
“I send my warm greetings and the assurance of my prayers to the readers, authors and the INERELA+ CUAHA partnership for their tireless efforts in responding to HIV and AIDS. As faith leaders and communities of faith, we are called upon to be present and to be known to be present where there is suffering, pain and despair.
AIDS is not something that happens outside of the church, mosque or temple and even our homes. Too many stories and statistics on the epidemic’s spread and its impact demonstrate that everyone is affected by HIV and AIDS. While faith based communities have been at the forefront of caring for people affected by HIV, we need to challenge ourselves further.
For over two decades AIDS has led to the deaths of millions of people and devasted families, communities, and the social and economic fabric of many countries. Today we know how to treat HIV and AIDS and how to prevent the transmission of HIV. And yet the virus continues to spread because so many of us don’t talk about it.
Faith based communities have a crucial role and opportunity to help their communities address not just the physical impact of HIV and AIDS on individuals and communities but also the underlying personal, social, economic and cultural injustices that are exposed through this disease.
There can be no doubt that faith communities, through various projects across the globe, are effectively contributing towards the eradication of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
The stories and articles in this book are both inspiring and challenging all of us to respond to HIV. They challenge faith communities in our reticence to talk about and address sex and sexuality. Our silence serves only to increase risk and vulnerability needlessly. I hope and believe that this book will play a critical role in helping to re-energize, focus and challenge all faith community members to continue to respond to the devastating pandemic of HIV and AIDS.
Faith communities need to provide leadership to overcome HIV and AIDS, and recognize people living with HIV as precious members of the community. It is time for faith based organisations and communities to lead in promoting life, by providing comprehensive and evidence-based information on preventing transmission of HIV. In addition, women and girls should be guaranteed access to sexual and reproductive health care and be able to exercise their basic human rights.
This book is an inspiration to faith based organisations who are living their faith in this world, and not just the next. Read it and your hopes will rise. God is responding to HIV and AIDS. I pray that all those who will read this book will be guided by the Holy Spirit to speak the truth in love and to pour balm on wounds – and that the stories in this book will bring hope and healing to a broken world.
God bless you.”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M Tutu