Church Must Engage Battle Against AIDS/HIV, Say Evangelical Leaders

Churches should move aggressively to engage in the battle against HIV/AIDS, with societal institutions becoming alert to the unique role Christians can play in the effort, said top leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance on World Aids Day.

“On this day we are acknowledging that this pandemic is having a growing and significant impact on our regions,” said Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director of the WEA, on Thursday at the International Council meeting that took place Nov. 28 - Dec. 1 in Germany. He called on local churches to form strategic alliances to engage, embrace and respond with compassion to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Ndaba Mazabane, chairman of the International Council at the WEA, meanwhile called for the African church, together with Christians around the world, to stand together with the infected and the affected while challenging civil society and governments to do the same.

Mazabane called for a “multi sectoral” approach that was so large it required the help of government, business, civil society and the church to work together to obtain victory over the pandemic.

He noted the progress already taking place in Africa, as the local churches took up the burden.

“On the ground, thousands of Evangelical churches across Africa are engaged in providing for people living with HIV/AIDS and educating those who are most at risk,” Mazabane said. “We are caring for the afflicted and for the 14 million that have been orphaned in Africa by the virus.”

Estimates place the number of HIV/AIDS infected people in Sub-Saharan Africa anywhere from 26 to 40 million people, according to Mazabane.