Take the lead on World AIDS Day 2007

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) strongly encourages individuals, parishes, and dioceses to make the most of World AIDS Day 2007 by engaging in some form of worship, event, or advocacy focused on HIV and AIDS.

World AIDS day is celebrated every year on 1 December. It is an opportunity for individuals and groups all over the world to come together to remember, and demonstrate worldwide support to, people living with and people affected by HIV and AIDS. It is the one day in the year where issues surrounding HIV and AIDS can take centre stage.

The overall theme for World AIDS Day 2007 is focused on leadership, under the slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise,” which is the worldwide campaign until 2010.

During the past year there have been some encouraging advances in the global response to HIV and AIDS although we continue to fall far short in the resources and efforts needed to stop the spread of the disease.

In the last month alone we have seen government world leaders at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in Berlin renew and make new commitments to fund HIV and AIDS care, treatment and prevention programs in countries that have insufficient resources. Similar commitment to respond to HIV and AIDS is reflected throughout the world in national and local initiatives, in churches and religious organizations and in civil society.

However, the greatest advances at any level have been made when there is strong and committed leadership. Leaders with vision, passion, and perseverance, who lead with personal engagement, inspire others to become engaged and make a huge difference in the response of communities to and are better example in the response to HIV and AIDS. This type of leader is not stuck in a government office; this type of leader is found in your homes, your churches, your schools, and your offices.

This year’s theme of leadership encourages you to “Take the Lead” in responding to key issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. Issues such as stigma and discrimination; access to medicines; and better prevention, treatment, support and care. At home, in schools, at workplaces or worship spaces, you can “Take the Lead” in a compassionate, active and effective response to AIDS.

What can you do?
Find out what is happening in your local area to commemorate World AIDS Day 2007. Encourage your church or organization to get involved, or why not use some of the ideas below to “Take the Lead” and organize an event in your local community!

Plan an ecumenical service for the Sunday before or after World AIDS Day, or on 1 December itself. PWRDF partner, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has prepared a special service that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent, plus ideas and other worship resources that can be adapted for other times.

Organize a prayer and discussion group based on the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance devotional calendar for the 2007 Advent, Christmas and Epiphany season on HIV and AIDS using the global campaign theme: “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.” Devotions begin on World AIDS Day, 1 December and continue through 6 January.

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