Sep. 27, 2022

WCC begins work to bring HIV back to national agendas with focus on sustainability

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is beginning a project with local partners in four countries—India, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Jamaica—to bring back HIV and AIDS response to the national agendas, this time with a focus on sustainability.
A neighborhood women's group in Chennai, India, learns about HIV and AIDS as they play a game designed by educators from the Madras Christian Council of Social Service. Photo: Paul Jeffrey
27 September 2022

Through a grant from UNAIDS, the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme, as well as the WCC Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, will host meetings in which people with HIV, key affected populations, faith organizations, and churches will plan together with UNAIDS local offices, national HIV programs, and ministries of health.

"There is large potential for what we can do together,” said Gracia Ross, programme executive for the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme. “The challenge posed by HIV is not finished with medications; we must work in addressing the inequalities that drive the HIV epidemic, and for that we need the help of everyone.”

Solving inequalities is an imperative of social justice, Ross added. “The faith sector has to be on our side—the side of people living with HIV and the side of those living in the margins,” she said. "There are many issues on which we can collaborate in order to create a comprehensive and integral response.”

HIV is being forgotten in many places—but if we ask those who live with it, we will see how present their needs really are, said Ross. “We want the faith sector and the communities to have a conversation and focus on actions.”

Another crucial part of the new project is ensuring the faith sector will have the most up-to-date technical information on HIV.

As the first consultation begins in India, WCC is partnering with the organization Human Touch, which provides support for orphans and vulnerable children.

The meeting in India will take place from 27-30 September, in the Dominican Republic from 14-16 October, in Indonesia from 19-21 October, and in Jamaica from 25-27 October.
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