HIV/AIDS and the faith community: Faith-based organizations and faith communities have an important role to play in addressing HIV/AIDS. Faith leaders and communities influence public opinion and society norms, and can be very effective in reducing stigma and encouraging healthy behaviors to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS.
The Role of the Church and People of Faith in HIV/AIDS | CCIH Webinar January 23, 2018 | Faith leaders can play a powerful role in reducing stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and encourage testing, treatment and prevention and save many lives as a result. Christians can use their voices to speak up for those at risk and already affected by HIV/AIDS. In this CCIH webinar, David Barstow, PhD, President, EMPACT Africa, and Nkatha Njeru, MPH, Program Manager, IMA World Health/Corus, and Coordinator of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform discuss the role of religious leaders in addressing HIV/AIDS and what Christians can do to advocate for strong HIV/AIDS programs. It was moderated by Katy Ajer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Common Voice Initiative | The AIDS epidemic is at a critical point. A remarkable, decades-long global effort has given us the capability to end AIDS as a public health threat. However, the global political will to end AIDS is weakening, raising the risk of a major resurgence of the epidemic in the 2020s. Strong advocacy by religious voices is vital to ensuring that the world perseveres and finally brings the AIDS epidemic to an end.
See the Common Voice Worship Video released for 2018 World AIDS Day where religious communities around the world share a pledge of advocacy and commitment to end HIV/AIDS.
The Future of the AIDS Epidemic | This video outlines the current state of the AIDS epidemic and what the situation will be in 2030 if we do not take advantage of current opportunities to stem the spread of HIV. It includes a trailer for a fictional documentary to be produced in 2030 depicting that missed opportunity. The video features Dr. David Barstow, an HIV/AIDS activists specializing in engaging the church to help fight the stigma and discrimination of HIV/AIDS to increase prevention and treatment.
HIV, Faith Leaders and the Church
Messages of Hope: Reaching Boys and Men with HIV and AIDS Information | This short film explores how Health Policy Plus (HP+) collaborated with Malawi’s six religious mother bodies to implement PEPFAR’s Faith and Community Initiative (FCI) in eight of Malawi’s districts. Through FCI, religious leaders incorporated PEPFAR Messages of Hope—accurate HIV messages that correspond with religious texts from the Bible or Qu’ran—into their day-to-day work and community engagement activities. In this short film viewers learn more about how these trusted leaders are dispelling HIV myths and misconceptions and fighting stigma to increase acceptance of HIV services and treatment in their communities.
Recommended Practices for Religious Communities to Address HIV-Related Stigma | CCIH member Dr. David Barstow presented in November 2021 at the International Conference on Stigma on “Recommended Practices for Religious Communities to Address HIV-Related Stigma: A Review of Training Materials for Religious Leaders.” He put together 13 practices after reviewing a variety of materials about HIV for faith communities. See a summary of his presentation
Channels of Hope Curriculum | World Vision International’s Channels of Hope trains and equips faith leaders and other community members to break down walls between faiths and in their own communities to respond to serious issues, such as HIV/AIDS, and promote the well-being of all in the community—especially the most vulnerable.
Faith & Community Communication Prototypes | The Faith & Community Initiative is a joint effort among faith actors, the CDC and PEPFAR. These communication prototypes incorporate messages of hope and information on HIV to enhance demand creation for appropriate and targeted HIV testing, including HIV self-testing, linkage to treatment and retention in care with a special focus on men and children; and to promote justice for children.
Faith and HIV in the Next Decade: Mobilizing Religious Communities to End the HIV Epidemic | July 2020 | by Dr. David Barstow and contributors from a variety of faith-based organizations. | Religious leaders and institutions have been a vital part of the global response to HIV and AIDS since the early days of the epidemic. However, the faith-based response to HIV must be scaled up significantly if we are to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. This strategy paper outlines success criteria, the key elements of a coordinated interfaith strategy, and near-term activities that will lay a solid foundation for executing the strategy during the rest of the 2020s. It reflects the continuing efforts spurred by the September 5, 2019, event “Two Possible Futures: Faith Action to End AIDS,” which was hosted at the Berkley Center in partnership with the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, World Faiths Development Dialogue, and International Shinto Foundation.
HIV Counseling Guide for Religious Leaders | The Africa Christian Health Associations Platform launched this HIV counseling guide for religious leaders in 2019. The guide aims to help religious leaders provide support to congregants as they cope with HIV/AIDS. The guide was developed by ACHAP in partnership with the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), Inerela-Kenya, the Christian Health Association of Kenya, SUPKEM, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), IMA World Health, St Paul’s University, Organization of African Instituted Churches and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya.
HIV Education for Church and Community | A presentation by Robert Carter MD, MPH at the 37th Christian Medical and Dental Association/Continuing Medical and Dental Education Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February 2017.
HIV Message Booklet to Support Religious Leaders | The National AIDS Control Council in Kenya works with the faith community to develop integrate HIV messages into Faith Sector activities, as well as reach out to the congregation with HIV prevention information and services targeting men, women, adolescents, young people, the elderly and reducing HIV-related stigma. The organization worked with support of religious leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Bahai communities. The objective of the HIV Message Booklet is to support religious leaders as they include HIV messages in sermons and religious activities.
Orphans and Vulnerable Children
OVCSupport.org is a global online hub of resources on children and HIV to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children by connecting the global community and providing the most up-to-date information on HIV and other adversities.
Parenting and Youth
Children’s AIDS Fund | 2009 | Smart Choices Curriculum about HIV/AIDS
Faithfulness workshop for adults (3 parts)
Faithfulness for Adults Facilitators Guide Part I, Part II, Part III
Student workbook for 10-14-year-olds
Student Workbook for ages 10-14
10 – 14-year-olds Facilitator Guide: Part I and Part II
Student workbook 15-24-year-olds
Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV
15-24-year-olds Facilitator Guide Part I and Part II
HIV/AIDS Youth Resources from World Relief
Choose Life: A Guide for Peer Educators and Youth Leaders: A Curricula for Youth Ages 10-14
Choose Life: A Guide for Peer Educators and Youth Leaders: A Curricula for Youth Over 15
Food for the Hungry: Keys to A Healthy Relationship | A Guide to Reduce HIV Transmission and Strengthen Long-Term Committed Relationships | 2007 | Also available in Amharic, Portuguese and French/Creole by request to mhanold [at] fh.org
CABSA and Empact Africa’s Faith and Stigma on the Fast Track: A Framework for Taking Action | 2016 | Based on many years of experience working with faith communities on issues of stigma, the authors present a framework for taking action in support of UNAIDS 90-90-90 Fast Track targets for the year 2020. The authors conclude that reaching the targets will require substantial scaling up of stigma reduction initiatives at local faith communities.
Treatment and Support
Adherence Clubs: An Essential Strategy To Care for People Living with HIV: Guidelines for Churches and Christian Ministries by LifeRise AIDS Resources | 2019 | Adherence clubs are an essential strategy to provide supportive care for PLWH to enable them to be stable on lifesaving HIV treatment (called “ART”) and stay on it lifelong. These guidelines will equip churches and Christian ministries to facilitate adherence clubs for people living with HIV. A vision and rationale for the clubs is covered, as well as practical guidance to conduct the clubs, including delivery of ART medicines to members in club meetings. These guidelines cover five building blocks for adherence clubs: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY. The WHAT building block includes four A’s: Attendance; Assessment; Adherence; and ART, designed as an easy way to remember the four most important tasks to accomplish in adherence clubs.
HIV Education Outreach: 4 Most Important Messages by LifeRise AIDS Resources and the Global CHE Network | 2018 | This manual helps groups share the four most important messages about HIV. These messages can be remembered by “P2T2” and include
1) Prevent – People Can Prevent HIV
2) Test – People at Risk for HIV Need to Be Tested
3) Treat – People with HIV Need to Be Treated
4) Protect – Pregnant Women Need to Be Tested and Treated
This outreach is designed to be taken “on the road” to share with any group of people. It can be used in towns and villages everywhere to get the word out about HIV. Other groups may include churches; youth groups; schools; and workplaces. The resource includes four lessons – one for each of the core messages. Each lesson starts with a role play, followed by a facilitation which covers the major points of the lesson.
Supportive Care for People on HIV Treatment: Community Health Evangelism HIV/AIDS Training Manual by LifeRise AIDS Resources | 2016
Other Resources from Secular and Multilateral Organizations
The AIDSFree Project Resources section houses a Resource Library, a knowledge hub incorporating hundreds of publications on topics across the HIV continuum, and a collection of interactive tools and databases.
UNAIDS Resource Center
USAID Frontiers in Development; Faith Communities: Untapped Resource for Development, authored by Kay Warren, Elizabeth Styffe, and Gil Odendaal
U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
World Health Organization (WHO) Resources on HIV/AIDS
Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation HIV/AIDS Resource Library
Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria Resources on HIV/AIDS | The Global Fund is a worldwide movement to defeat HIV, TB and malaria and ensure a healthier, safer, more equitable future for all.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global HIV and TB Response Resources