Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Denial about AIDS

In the eighteen years or so that I have been researching the problem of HIV/AIDS in general and in Swaziland in particular, I have found one aspect of this disease remaining the same, and this is that people still tend to live in a state of denial regarding this disease. In an article I wrote some years ago asking the question: Why are we losing the battle against AIDS? I argued that first and foremost this is caused by our inability to acknowledge the severity of this problem. It seems as if most people – and for the sake of this blog – most Christians, persist in denying that this is a problem! I will write some more about this in the future, but a recent survey in South Africa confirmed this. In an article in the Mail and Guardian published on 30 May 2007, it says: “SA in denial over Aids, says survey”.
Some shocking things came out of the survey in which 3500 people over the age of sixteen were questioned. Some of these things are: 23% of the people believed that HIV is spread through mosquitoes! 14% say they don’t really know how one gets HIV/AIDS and a similar proportion (15%) is of the opinion that HIV/AIDS is not at all serious; in fact, 8% say it does not exist. A sizable group (16%) believes that HIV/AIDS can be cured by Western medicine or doctors; that traditional herbal remedies can protect a person from contracting HIV/AIDS (14%); or that HIV/AIDS can be cured by traditional healers (12%).
This survey was done among the general public. My fear is what the results would be should such a survey be done in the church. My impression is that the church at large still does not acknowledge the problem nor the potential devastating effects of this disease in the world.
Isn’t it time that each and every church, regardless of where it is situated, should formulate an AIDS policy as well as a strategy and how they are going to address this problem?

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Thursday, June 7, 2007 - Posted by | HIV & AIDS

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