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HIV and the Body of Christ
Arnau van Wyngaard I, II. This is a national crisis which, in the Swaziland context, has led to feelings of severe hopelessness and rejection and which needs to be addressed through a multidisciplinary approach. The church is in the unique position to demonstrate the love and grace of God in the midst of this pandemic. A small congregation of the Swaziland Reformed Church situated in the southern Shiselweni district of the country decided to take up this challenge. This article showed what the effects could be when the church becomes a vessel of love and grace within the community. Given the choice, most people would prefer to evade the problem of human immunodeficiency virus HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS. Who would choose, of their own free will, to spend their lives serving those suffering from the effects of the worst pandemic in world history? When people suffer 'innocently', the world reaches out in a variety of ways to help them. But when it is perceived that people have brought their suffering upon themselves, the usual response is to ignore their suffering. Stigma and discrimination rob people of the freedom to have themselves tested and to receive treatment, both formally and informally, such as through home-based caregiver groups.
Vincent Manning considers the important role that churches can play in meeting those challenges. How can church members, teaching and resources respond to the individual pastoral needs of people living with HIV and, in doing so, enter into a valuable partnership with the NHS in order to fight the virus? Breaking the news of an incurable disease to a patient is challenging for a medical practitioner. The doctor reassures the patient that, if they adhere to medication, they can live relatively normal, healthy lives. But the shock is such that often, for the person, it still feels like a kind of death sentence. Things will never be the same.
Since AIDS was first recognized in , the disease has killed more than an estimated 25 million people. Over 33 million people were living with HIV in , including more than 2 million children. Addressing the AIDS pandemic and ministering to its victims has become an important issue for Christians throughout the world. Browse our Full Library of online archives, including past issues of CT magazine. Access the Archives.
HIV/AIDS through the lens of Christianity: perspectives from a South African urban support group.
Off the coast of Maine, there was a Navy ship sailing in a very dense fog. This night, the midshipman saw a fixed light in the distance and immediately contacted his captain. The vessel signaled back, "No, you change your course. Again the reply was, "No, you change your course. Navy battleship and you are to change your course immediately.