IN the week before World
AIDS Day, a charity has entered into partnership with churches to
tackle the high rate of HIV among Africans in the UK.
The Actionplus Foundation
said that 30 times more Africans are HIV positive compared with the
average Briton, and churches had an important part to play in
undoing the stigma surrounding AIDS.
The charity launched a
new HIV testing clinic at Living Flames Baptist Church,
Walthamstow, in north London, on 24 November, a week before World
AIDS Day on Sunday 1 December. The founder of ActionPlus, the Revd
Fred Annin, said that churches must do more to educate their
"The Bible does not
condemn people with HIV as cursed," he said. "It shouldn't be taboo
to discuss it in churches. It's a medical condition, and people
need medical help. Prayer cannot bring our health back when we
Speaking at an event in
Walworth, south London, to launch the charity's campaign Take
Action Now, the chief executive of the Mildmay HIV hospital, Ross
White, said that two-thirds of patients came from black
Mr Annin said that those
who were HIV-positive needed support from their churches, not moral
condemnation. ActionPlus, which is based at Christ Church,
Blackfriars Road, is starting a training programme for ministers
and church leaders, to educate them about the particular challenge
that AIDS poses to the African community.
Booys, Rector of Dorchester, writes: "I have just returned
from a visit to an AIDS project in our link diocese of Kimberley
and Kuruman, in South Africa. We also visited a project in Mumias
and Musanda, Kenya, where the NASIO Trust, a charity based in
Abingdon, provides orphaned children with a meal one day a week.
Both projects are in communities where the numbers of people who
are HIV-positive is very high.
"The stark reality of seeing so many children queue for
a meagre plateful of food is shocking. A number of under-fives
bring the babies that they are looking after, and save a tiny
portion of food to eat - or even share - later. Anything we can do
to make a difference is a must."