A Creed for a World without AIDS

A Creed for a World without AIDS

We believe and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel: that God sent Jesus Christ to love and welcome into his kingdom all people who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The Son of God, when he was man, experienced his own suffering, and took onto his own shoulders the suffering of the world, he understood what it was like to be discriminated against and, for that reason, he can welcome, unconditionally, his brothers and sisters.

We baptise, teach and nurture our faithful, irrespective of their status, whether they are positive or negative, because living with HIV/AIDS is not a punishment from God and is also no reason to turn people away from communion in the Church. We include all people in our services, guaranteeing them, unreservedly, full access to the Holy Sacraments.

We serve the needy with love, seeking to hear their stories, bring them comfort in their pains, sufferings and daily struggles, showing always that hope exists, even when facing HIV/AIDS.  The life of a person living with HIV is not focused on the virus or the illness, but on the person, filled with the Holy Spirit. That person must be treated with dignity, respect and justice, with their rights assured.

We fight for the transformation of unfair social structures, responsible for the world’s HIV pandemic. We reject the idea that AIDS is a moral or religious problem; it is a health problem and must be treated as such by society and by the government. Preconceived and discriminatory religious pronouncements in relation to people living with HIV risk increasing the spread of the illness by creating fragile environments where the virus can be transmitted more easily.

We strive to safeguard the integrity of life in all its forms, irrespective of creed, gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic group and social class, because we support the use of a condom in all sexual relationships and free access to medicines to treat the illness, and we support the search for an affective and accessible vaccine against this virus. We believe that pronouncements and religious practices which reject the prevention of AIDS, and those which suggest that AIDS can be cured by abandoning medical treatment, are sins against God.

Thus we affirm our hope and belief, inspired by the Holy Trinity, that it is possible for us to build a world without AIDS.

AMEN

‘A Creed for a World without AIDS’, inspired by the Five Marks of Mission of Anglican Consultative Council.

Authors:

Revd Arthur Cavalcante, Anglican Parish of the Holy Trinity, Sao Paulo

Sra. Ilcélia A Soares-leiga, Anglican Diocese of Recife + HIV activist.