November 29, 2007
One in Three Are HIV Know-Nothings
Survey: Millions are unaware that HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic.
Tomorrow, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day, 2007.
Earlier this week, World Vision released a new survey that looks at the public's knowledge and opinion about HIV/AIDS in the G-7 nations -- the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan.
World Vision held a press conference at the United Nations on Nov. 29. The organizaiton noted:
More than 25 years after HIV was discovered, one-third of the people in seven wealthy nations admit they know little or nothing about the global HIV and AIDS epidemic, and one-fourth believe the problem is "greatly exaggerated," according to a survey released today by World Vision, the international humanitarian organization.
Ironically, 80 percent of the respondents believe their governments should do much more to help children orphaned by AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses around the world, but only 44 percent are willing to pay more in taxes to help fund prevention, treatment, research and care.
"This survey reconfirms what all of us on the front lines of the AIDS battle know - leaders must put a face on the pandemic because, for people to take action, AIDS must affect them in a personal way," says Richard E. Stearns, president of World Vision, U.S. "While some of these survey results present daunting challenges, we can be encouraged with the finding that the more people know about AIDS, the more compassionate they are toward those directly affected by it."
Meanwhile on the West Coast, Saddleback church's Rick Warren and his wife Kay were hosting their Third Annual Global Summit. That ends today followed by the Youth Summit at Saddleback tomorrow (Dec. 1)
In a press statement, Pastor Warren noted:
"People are asking, 'How many people have AIDS?' ? but that is the wrong question; rather, we should be asking, 'Why should anyone have AIDS?'" Dr. Warren said. "You are God's plan to bring relief to this pandemic. There are some things in this world that I don't have hope for, but I believe in the depth of my heart that HIV/AIDS can be stopped, because it will only take one thing ? real leaders," Dr. Warren added.
Together, the Warrens outlined five traits of real leaders that parallel the objectives of the conference, to develop leadership that is aware; accumulates knowledge; are advocates and activists; and are available. Using the model of a three-legged stool, they reiterated that to end AIDS, leadership is needed in all three sectors ? public, profit and parish ? at the international, national, church, city, business and individual levels.
"When it comes to AIDS, it is not enough to just have tender feelings in your heart ? caring for people with HIV isn't enough," Kay Warren added. "We must also be activists, which involves an intentional plan in your heart for good and for change. We have a call from God to raise our voices ? do not wait for perfect conditions."
So here's the big question:
Granted a few prominent evangelicals have stepped up to the activisim plate against HIV. But I cannot cite one example when I've heard of local (non-mega) evangelical church put a Sunday-long emphasis on HIV ministry. Have you? Is HIV outreach a true priority for evangelicals, or what?