Perhaps the title is a shocking statement to some. However, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has agreed and is taking action to fight this pandemic both in this country and around the world. AIDS has killed over 25 million people leaving millions of children orphaned. Those affected include members of the ELCA and our brothers and sisters around the world. When one member of the body of Christ suffers we all suffer. Therefore the body of Christ has AIDS.
However, while this may bring about gloomy images, the ELCA HIV/AIDS strategy advocates the concept of living positively with HIV. This video explains further the strategy of the ELCA and how congregations in the United States can stand up and advocate for those living positively with HIV.
Monday, June 27th was National HIV Testing Day. During this past weekend I participated in a free HIV testing and I encourage you and your congregation to do the same and stand as an example of the power of God’s love in the world. Make an announcement during worship or talk to the pastor of your congregation. We are called by the Spirit to be with those living positively with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and the world. Search your local area for free screening locations. The screenings do not take long and many provide rapid tests that show results in 20 minutes!
In case you were wondering what you are in for if you choose to get tested: Most locations use EIA testing which draws blood from the vein or uses other fluids like saliva or urine. The rapid tests either take blood from a vein or finger prick, or a swabbing from the mouth. It is very simple! I took the oral swabbing exam and it was painless and easy!
Many people and congregations may worry what others will think and say if they hear so-and-so’s church got tested for AIDS. However, as you will see in the video previously mentioned, the community response was in fact very positive. As Christians we need to boldly proclaim the Gospel so we can be a light in the darkness. Please share your thoughts about this article. Also if you choose to get tested, which I hope you will, please share your experience afterward. To learn more about the ELCA’s HIV and AIDS Strategy check out this link. Thanks so much for reading!