Just as He touched the afflicted of His day, Jesus
is calling His church to reach out with compassion to
those devastated by AIDS.
Acquired Immunodeficiency 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 transmission.
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 Prayer Guide
1. Ask God to forgive the sins of the nation
which have encouraged the spread of AIDS
2. Intercede for those ravaged by the depression brought
on by HIV/AIDS, and ask God to move powerfully in
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your own fears and
4. Ask God to forgive the church for being slow to
respond to the ministry needs of those with HIV and
5. Pray for churches across America to reach out with
compassion to those with the disease.
6. Pray for wisdom and protection for those in the
medical community treating AIDS patients.
7. Ask God to strengthen and equip the friends and
families ofAIDS and
HIV Patient Resources:
For more HIV/AIDS-related information, contact He Intends
For AIDS health info, contact the Centers for Disease
-- Hotline: 800/342-AIDS
-- Clearinghouse: 800/458-5231.
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.