Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pounding the Pulpit to Prevent HIV

As many of you know, I write about HIV for a living. Right now, I have been asked to pull together some sermons on HIV/AIDS for an upcoming conference of African American clergy. The sermons will be included in resources provided to participants, and they will carry all the proper attributions.

These folks are some of the biggest movers and shakers in the African American faith community. Most of them have not been terribly vocal about HIV to their congregations, but their participation in this conference is a marker of their willingness to engage.

Most Americans still think of HIV as a "gay disease." In truth, in the United States HIV is now, largely, an African American disease. African Americans make up only about 12% of the U.S. population, but they make up over 50% of new HIV infections and about 50% of those living with AIDS.

AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women between the ages of 25-44.

It still takes my breath away every time I have to type that sentence.

If you have written/preached a sermon on HIV, and would be willing to share it with me, I would be grateful. This is an important event for those of us who are fighting HIV/AIDS, and your words may well make a difference in the lives of people who are at risk for HIV and still don't realize it. They may also make a difference in the lives of those who need to develop both understanding and compassion about this deadly virus.

Send your contributions to the e-mail address in my profile here. I can't promise that all of them will be included, but I'll try to get in as many as I can. Thanks!