more HIV/AIDS-related information, contact He Intends Victory
Or call: 800/HIV-HOPE.
AIDS health info, contact the Centers for Disease Control
National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-342-2437
National HIV/AIDS Hotline (Spanish): 1-800-344-7432
CBN TEACHING SHEETS
AIDS: Charting a Christian Response
Syndrome -- AIDS -- is the leading cause of death among Americans under age 44.
First discovered in the U.S. in 1981, there is no known cure for the disease.
Today, there are 1 million known cases in the U.S. Half of the estimated 19.5
million cases worldwide are in Africa, and by the year 2000, 30-40 million are
expected to be infected with the virus causing AIDS.
Despite the widespread
impact of this disease, many know surprisingly little about AIDS and its transmission,
and few in the church have developed a thoughtful, biblical response to those
ravaged by this disease.
Much of the fear regarding AIDS centers around a lack
of understanding as to how the disease is transmitted. Aids is spread through
the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is transmitted in three ways --
sexual contact, contact with the blood infected by the virus, or through prenatal
Casual contact -- such as breathing the air around an infected
person, or even touching or kissing -- has not led to transmission. As a result,
those who do not carry HIV can, with little concern about infection, welcome those
infected with HIV to join in all normal social interactions at the workplace,
in their homes and in church.
As HIV incubates in the body -- a process that
can take years-- it severely damages a patient's disease-fighting immune system.
The resulting condition is called AIDS, which leaves the patient vulnerable to
a host of diseases that otherwise would not be fatal.
Homosexual contact remains
the most frequently reported way HIV is transmitted, which has led some Christians
to incorrectly believe that AIDS is the direct punishment of God. AIDS may or
may not be the consequence of sin. The disease strikes people of all ages, sexual
behaviors and social boundaries. Therefore, HIV/AIDS should not be stigmatized
and treated differently than other diseases.
Jesus is calling His church to
reach out with compassion to those devastated by AIDS. Just as Jesus touched the
afflicted of His day, the church's response should be guided by compassion. If
sinful behavior is connected with the disease, the church should extend the same
forgiveness that Jesus offers to all who repent.
As AIDS continues its alarming
growth rate it is clear that this disease will soon impact every family and every
church community. Christians must be diligent to overcome unwarranted fears regarding
the disease and support those suffering from its deadly effects both with persistent
prayer and the restorative actions that speak louder than words.
7 Day AIDS
- Ask God to forgive the sins of the nation which have
encouraged the spread of AIDS
- Intercede for those ravaged by the depression
brought on by HIV/AIDS, and ask God to move powerfully in their lives.
the Holy Spirit to reveal your own fears and prejudices.
- Ask God to forgive
the church for being slow to respond to the ministry needs of those with HIV and
- Pray for churches across America to reach out with compassion to those
with the disease.
- Pray for wisdom and protection for those in the medical
community treating AIDS patients.
- Ask God to strengthen and equip the friends
and families ofAIDS and HIV patients.
Helping a Friend with AIDS
Excerpted with permission from Love Action
When someone you know learns that he or she has HIV or
AIDS, you may feel inadequate to help. But with God's love, you don't need to
feel apprehensive and inadequate. Here are some ways you can reach out.
- Try not to avoid this person. At this time of crisis, be the friend you have
always been, which is especially important because it instills hope.
your friend. A hug or squeeze of the hand lets him or her know that you care.
(You cannot contract AIDS simply by touching.)
- Call and ask if it's okay to
visit and leave your friend an option to decline if he or she isn't feeling well.
Your friendship can keep loneliness and fear at a distance.
- Don't be afraid
to share the joy of knowing Jesus with your friend, but don't be overbearing.
Don't demand immediate spiritual maturity and full understanding. On some occasions,
the best witness is a simple prayer or a kindness. (James 2:14-17).
- Be knowledgeable
of God's power to heal even in the most difficult circumstances. It's okay when
praying with your friend to offer hope by asking God to manifest His healing power.
However, don't make your friend feel guilty if healing does not take place. Know
that God may have other plans for your friend.
- Spend time sharing a meal or
invite the person to go for an outing, but ask about and know your friend's limitations.
- Celebrate holidays and life with your friend by offering to decorate their
home or hospital room.
- When possible, stay in contact with your friend's family
or care-partner. Offer to care for the person with AIDS in order to give their
loved ones some free time.
- It's okay to ask about the illness, but be sensitive
to whether or not your friend wants to discuss it.
- A person with AIDS has
good and bad days. On bad days, treat your friend with extra care and compassion.
- Offer transportation. Your friend may need a ride to treatment or the store
or somewhere special for a break.
- Be prepared for your friend to get angry
with you for "no reason." Remember anger and frustration are often taken out on
people most loved because it is safe and will be understood.
- Keep your friend
updated on current events, mutual friends and common interest. It may be a welcome
diversion from talking about symptoms, doctors and treatments.
- Offer to help
with household chores. However, don't do something your friend would prefer to
do for him or herself. Ask first.
- Don't lecture or direct anger at your friend
if he or she seems to be handling the illness in a way that you think is inappropriate.
You may not understand what the feelings are and why certain choicesare being
- If your friend is experiencing feelings of guilt or blame regarding
the illness, remind that person that God is gracious, merciful and forgiving to
all of us.
- Do not confuse acceptance of the illness with defeat. Sometimes
acceptance may free your friend to accept God's better plan for his or her life.
- Don't allow your friend, his family or roommate to become isolated. Let them
know about support and prayer groups, Bible studies and other concrete practical
services offered by your church, ministry and/or agencies.
- Talk about the
future with your friend without denying the reality of today.
- Take good care
of yourself. Recognize your own limitations and honor them. Share with your pastor
and Christian friends your own feelings of grief, helplessness and inadequacy.
Getting the emotional and spiritual support you need will help you to be there
for the person who has AIDS.
- Remember to pray for your friend or family member,
for their family members, and that God would use you as a messenger of His love
and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Are you searching for peace with God? Find it here!
you have a prayer Request?
your prayer request using our online prayer request form. We pray over each
need that is presented to us.
Have you invited Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?
us an e-mail using our online form so that we can pray with you -- or call our prayer line (1-800-759-0700) to talk to one of our counselors.
If you have an immediate prayer request, or if you need to talk to a caring Christian friend, please call
our 24-hour Prayer line at 1-800-759-0700.
Find a Church Near You
The Honey That Kills: Combating AIDS With the Gospel
Muslim Cleric Healed of AIDS
Hope Flourishes in ‘Cradle of AIDS’
Can I Be Healed?
The International AIDS Conference: The Church Responds
Rick Warren Takes Public HIV Test on World AIDS Day
more HIV/AIDS-related information, contact He Intends Victory, 800/HIV-HOPE.
AIDS health info, contact the Centers for Disease Control -- Hotline: 800/342-AIDS:
Scriptures for study: Matthew 8:2-3, 9:35-36,
Luke 5:12-16, John 8:1-7, James 2:1-13, 5:14-16, Proverbs 14:34.
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