This week is the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.  According to the Web site,

The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is the coming together of all people of faith to unite with purpose, compassion and hope. Through the power of God’s love we will educate every American about HIV prevention facts; encourage and support HIV testing; advocate for the availability of compassionate care and treatment for all those living with the disease in every community in America; and love unconditionally all persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

ELCA World Hunger has many reasons to be engaged in HIV and AIDS work.  AIDS and hunger are closely intertwined.  AIDS is rapidly spreading in the most impoverished areas of the world (including the poorest areas of the United States)—places where education, women’s and children’s rights, and peace are hard to come by.  Many areas, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, are trapped in a vicious cycle in which the symptoms of poverty facilitate the spread of the disease while the lives and productivity lost to the pandemic further impoverish vulnerable communities.  Moreover, AIDS is especially devastating to hungry persons.  Malnourished persons cannot take anti-retroviral drugs—an empty stomach cannot handle the powerful medicine.  In the absence of drugs and adequate nutrition, HIV develops into AIDS more quickly.  Once a person has AIDS, more food is needed to fight the illness and counteract weight loss.

Join us this week in prayer and advocacy with and on behalf of those living with HIV and AIDS.  To learn more about the ELCA’s engagement in the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, click here.

-David Creech