“In many parts of the world, religions are now at the heart of the response to HIV care. In sub-Saharan Africa, where health systems are inadequate and government responses weak, churches have picked up the slack. They are providing not only practical medical care, but spearheading remarkable community-based palliative care and counselling for the sick and dying, and fighting stigma…they are also, in some countries, leading the fight for access to drug treatment”
From ‘God’s children are dying of AIDS: Interfaith dialogue and HIV’, Christian Aid
Faith communities play an essential role in shaping the public’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. There have been a number of faith leaders and religious organisations with historical significance and influence on health and social issues, particularly in African communities.
Partnering with Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) is important to achieve a comprehensive international HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support strategy that builds awareness, mobilizes communities, and reduces HIV-associated stigma. There are many examples where FBOs have taken the lead in providing outstanding HIV and AIDS programmes and services. There are however other examples of FBOs and faith leaders who engage in actions that contradict this comprehensive approach, which in turn encourages exclusion, stigma and discrimination.
“It has become evident that the time has come for Muslims to actively engage in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS”
From Positive Muslims, South Africa website
Aim of the Working Group
To create a platform where faith-based groups and organisations working on faith, HIV and AIDS and its global impact can come together to develop strategies to engage with and influence the thinking and policies of religious organisations, leaders and development partners e.g. DFID, World Bank, Global Fund etc so that they appreciate the impact of faith on people living with, or affected by, HIV; strengthen positive effects and address negative consequences.
- Explore and develop an understanding of the role of faith, faith-based organisations and communities in their response to HIV and AIDS throughout the world.
- Support Consortium members in talking to their own faith communities, by providing a space in which we can share information, exchange effective approaches, and learn from one another’s successes and failures.
- Define a common agenda for engagement with development partners (starting with DFID), and influential religious leaders.
- Define further ways of involving Faith Groups in the UK as advocates with and for people living with HIV and AIDS.
- Encourage more faith communities to become welcoming communities of care for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
- Affirm and ensure the participation of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in all faith and community activities and programmes.
“As well as offering love to people with HIV/AIDS we [Buddhists] mustn’t forget to give love to people who have been affected by the impacts of HIV/AIDS. Society will thrive if we can share and if we can all cooperate and work alongside one another”
‘The Four Sublime States and People with HIV/AIDS’ by Watcharapong Thongsa-aad
This paper looks at the role of faith and the current movement to criminalise homosexual behaviour and its implications for the HIV response. Its focus is on the current situation in sub-Saharan African countries, and Uganda in particular.
Watch the video for an introduction into the issue:
Keeping Faith Report (2011)
Current Organisational Members
British Red Cross
Church of Scotland
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
International HIV Fund
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Religions for Peace UK
Strategies for Hope Trust
“All of us, whether directly or indirectly involved in the struggle against AIDS, must listen, believe and act in solidarity with affected communities to tackle the various causes and effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic”
From American Jewish World Service website