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INSIDE: Question of Stlsett calls Ethiopian

the day for honesty coffee

about HIV ceremony

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AIDS 2006:

Buddhist monks chant, practicing auspicious greetings in the Multifaith Networking Zone.

We have been
Faith-based response to HIV and AIDS:
complicit by
Some progress but more needed our silence.
by Juan Michel
Bishop Mark S. Hanson,
While faith-based organizations have made But HIV is still connected to sin and there is a Lutheran World Federation
some progress since the last International preference for preaching over teaching.
AIDS Conference held in Bangkok in 2004,
much more needs to be done if they are to Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai, director of
meet the goals they set for themselves two the Chiang Mai Buddhist College, points to
years ago, say religious leaders meeting on education initiatives in Thailand led by Bud-
the second day of the International AIDS dhist monks which include educating novice
Conference in Toronto. High on their agenda: monks about HIV and AIDS and offering Issue no. 3
Aug. 15, 2006
reaching out to people living with HIV and pastoral counseling both in hospitals and
AIDS and public testing of religious leaders. homes. He acknowledges, though, that there Daily news and views on religious
are still difficulties in changing traditional at- responses to HIV and AIDS
In the Dominican Republic, many churches titudes to people living with HIV and AIDS. at the 16th International AIDS
are meeting the commitments made in Bang- Conference, Toronto, Canada. For
more information and articles visit
kok, says Dulce Alejo Espinal of the Indepen- The Rev. Mark Hanson, bishop of the Evan- www.e-alliance.ch/iac_2006.jsp
dent Evangelical Baptist Mission. They now gelical Lutheran Church in America and
have ministries to accompany people living president of the Lutheran World Federation,
with HIV and AIDS and to support AIDS or- reports that Christians are beginning to have
phans. A minority of churches, however, still the courage to follow Jesus Christ and reach
find it difficult to overcome the stigmatiza- out to people who they would not normally
tion of those affected by the pandemic. meet. But he calls on churches to repent and
confess their complicity in allowing
In Nepal, attitudes changed for the better since stigma and discrimi-
Bangkok, Bishnu Ghimire reports on behalf nation to persist and
of the South Asia Interfaith Council. Hindus, their failure to lis-
Christians and Muslims have become more ten to and follow
aware of the impact of HIV and AIDS in their the leadership
faith communities and religious leaders are of people living
starting to speak out, to preach and to assign with HIV and AIDS.
resources in order to respond to the pandemic. (continued on page 3)
Initiative poses questions for pharmaceutical companies
by Elly Wamari
A joint faith-based exhibit at the Inter- Ask Pharma cards offer a question- One card posed: Tell me about child-
national AIDS Conference encourages of-the-day that conference participants friendly versions of your HIV and
conference participants to engage repre- are encouraged to ask any of the phar- AIDS drug(s). How much does your
sentatives of pharmaceutical companies maceutical company representatives in company charge for these child-friend-
about their roles in the response to HIV the hall. Each card includes an explan- ly formulations?
and AIDS. atory note about its question.
The exhibit was created by more than
40 faith-based organizations want-
ing to share how various faiths are re-
sponding to HIV and AIDS. There are
films and different activities, in addi-
tion to an array of materials from the

The idea for Ask Pharma was sparked

when the organizations were assigned a
space in Exhibit Area A, an area domi-
nated by pharmaceutical companies.

We took advantage of our location

here to come up with this process
of involving the pharmaceutical
companies, said Mary Craig, the
Ask Pharma cards pose a question-of-the-day. exhibit coordinator.

Videos Online http://iac.e-alliance.ch (visit the site for more videos)

Why Are We Here?

by Greg Atkinson

A light-hearted look at some very serious reasons that faith-based participants

have for wanting to eradicate HIV and AIDS.

Youth: Our Point of View

by lokaalmondiaal

Many of the young people, who attended the ecumenical and interfaith pre-con-
ferences and are now at the International AIDS Conference, talk about their
response to HIV and AIDS.

Where Do We Go From Here?

by Shane Chadder

We leave this place more aware of the links between broken promises and
broken lives. The Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, an Anglican priest from
Uganda who is HIV positive and founder of the African Network of Religious
Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+).
Page 2
IAC co-chair Gunnar Stlsett: Faith-based CHECK
groups called to be honest about HIV IT
by Julia E. Heyde
Growing acceptance of the work of about drugs. People representing faith
faith-based organizations in response organizations need to use these words
to the AIDS pandemic is raising ex- in order to be heard and be connected Interfaith prayer room
pectations of their representatives at to the real issue.
Pentecostal Worship; 9:00
the International AIDS Conference. Islamic prayers (Salat); 13:20 and 17:15
Noting that the AIDS pandemic has led Buddhist meditation; 10:15
to cooperation among people of different Roman Catholic mass; 12:15
faiths in responding to community needs, Protestant worship; 15:45
Stlsett cautiously calls it a blessing. Tuesday only
I dont see that we as members of dif- Holy Qurbana of the Indian Orthodox
ferent faiths would have come together Church to Celebrate the Feast of the
on poverty, on disarmament, devel- Dormition of St. Mary; 7:30-8:45
opment or human rights in general. I Roman Catholic mass celebrated by
wish we would have, but we didnt. So Archbishop Bernard Moras, Bishop of
in that sense, something from which Bangalore; 12:15
many people are suffering has created North Building, Room 103A
this engagement and commitment and
mobilization. In that sense it can be
seen as a blessing. Joint faith-based exhibit
Tues. Aug. 15 - Thurs. Aug. 18; 10:15-18:30
Gunnar Stlsett
Stlsett hopes this International AIDS Exhibit area A, Booth number 475
Conference, convened under the theme
Gunnar Stlsett, former Bishop of Oslo Time to Deliver, will lead to more ac-
and IAC co-chair, says faith-based or- tion in response to HIV and AIDS. But Keep the Promise Letters to the
ganizations are now widely recognized he acknowledges it wont be an easy World
Launch of childrens letters with HRH
for delivering the majority of services process. To find the mechanisms by Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
to local communities. But he warns that which you move from words to action Tues. Aug. 15; 14:30-14:50
religious leaders must overcome their is not simple. It has to do with commit-
Exhibit area A, Booth number 475
awkwardness and be honest about the ment to stand up and be counted and to
driving forces of the pandemic. We say, enough words!
need to say it is about sexuality, it is Multifaith prayer service
Tues. Aug. 15; 20:00

St. James Cathedral, 65 Church Street

Faith-based response and teaching, says the Rev. Jap Heath,
general secretary of the African Network
(continued from page 1) of Religious Leaders Living with or Per- Faith-based caucuses
Professor Farid Esack, founder of the sonally Affected by HIV or AIDS (AN- Time for prayer, reflection on the day and
South African organization Positive Mus- ERELA+). People of faith must come to sharing
lims, speaks of changing attitudes within
the global Muslim community, citing
progress in Egypt, Malaysia and Moroc-
co. But he notes that Muslims are still at
the stage of feeling pity for those affected
and are not yet moving toward empower-
ing them, nor are they dealing with issues
of injustice which require transformation
of structures and communities.

More teaching and more preaching alone

will not help, if it is not the right preaching
HIV and AIDS are part of their commu-
nities and fully include them.

Hanson is calling on religious leaders to

confront stigma and discrimination by
taking HIV tests and publicly disclos-
ing the results. And he affirms his be-
lief that religious communities can be
places for moral formation even while
teaching safe sex practices and welcom-
ing people living with HIV and AIDS.

terms with the fact that people living with Wed. Aug. 16 - Thurs. Aug. 17; 21:00

Room 100, International Living and

Learning Centre, Ryerson University;
Sixth floor common room, New College

How to support people disclosing their

status by identifying support structures
Tues. Aug. 15; 16:45-17:45

Global Village,
Community Dialogue Space

Page 3
Sr. Tenabech Tesfalegh

Traditional coffee drinking ceremony in Ethiopia offers innovative

way to talk about HIV
by Diana Gee-Silverman

Although the seated circle of people may be similar, the Tesfaleghs Awassa project, like sister ones in seven other
Global Village in Torontos convention centre is a far cry cities, trains different members of the community, includ-
from a coffee ceremony in central Ethiopia. Still, the topic of ing church leaders, idirs (traditional local funeral coopera-
conversation is the same HIV, AIDS and related stigma. tives) and area youth. Young people are involved in drama
productions that serve in peer education.
The Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church has found an innovative
way to talk about HIV. The Bunna Tettu coffee drinking UNAIDS and the United Nations Development Programme
ceremony, which involves friends and neighbors getting to- have recognized this success in church community mo-
gether to discuss local issues, has been updated to include bilization. Kale Heywet is one of 25 finalist communities
talk of HIV and AIDS. Coffee ceremonies are organized at nominated for a Red Ribbon Award at the International
the home of a person living with AIDS. Volunteers prepare AIDS Conference. Inaugurated this year, the award aims
the coffee and invite the community to converse with the to support creative and sustainable ways to provide care,
chronically ill or bedridden patient. treatment and support to people living with HIV and AIDS
through recognition of outstanding community leadership.
Awassa city Project Coordinator Sr. Tenabech Tesfalegh
says, HIV is one of the main issues in Ethiopia. There is a When we started the project there was high stigma in
high level of infection rates, including in the churches. the community. We try to teach the community through
the church and other community structures. The HIV
She estimates HIV prevalence in urban areas to be between problem is my problem. It affects every family in Ethiopia,
10 and 12 percent. The Kale Heywet Churchs potential Tesfalegh says.
reach is great: After 78 years in Ethiopia, it counts six mil-
lion members in 6,000 local churches.

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The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and
Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS.
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