Each year on December 1, World AIDS Day, communities around the globe unite their focus against a worldwide threat: HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
According to UNAIDS, “36.7 million people globally were living with HIV in 2016.” They estimate 35 million people have died from the disease since the time HIV/AIDS was recognized as a global epidemic.
Since its formation in 1988, World AIDS Day has promoted the awareness and prevention of HIV, emphasized the care of those living with the disease, and commemorated those who have died from it. Thankfully, through the efforts of many around the globe, progress is being made in reducing the number of annual AIDS fatalities.
National Workers in Asia Observe World AIDS Day
Many people who are infected with HIV in Asia carry a stigma of shame and hopelessness. But GFA-supported workers want these people to know love is still extended toward them.
Last year, Gospel for Asia-supported workers rallied together to bring awareness and hope into their communities concerning HIV/AIDS.
In one area, Sunday school children and members of Women’s Fellowship helped organize a special program and rally to benefit their area. Nearly 80 people paraded for one hour, calling out helpful slogans, such as “Prevention is better than cure!” as they passed through the busiest area of their town.
On that day, a local church pastor encouraged the children involved in the rally, saying “Those who are victims of AIDS, people are afraid to shake hands with them. Sometimes people watch them with curiosity. But we should not behave like others, because by the teaching of Jesus Christ, we should love them. God has created every man and woman in His own image; so being servants of God, we should show love toward the victims.”
4,200 Children Rally in Support of Their Communities
In another region in Asia, 4,200 children from 31 GFA-supported Bridge of Hope centers carried banners and formed rallies in their areas. One group even walked through a red-light district. Using slogans such as “Know AIDS, No AIDS” and “Let’s aid each other to combat AIDS,” these children helped inform their communities of the danger of HIV. They also carried placards telling of God’s love and mercy toward those infected with HIV.
Local doctors helped with the rallies, providing valuable information about HIV/AIDS.
One ministry field correspondent wrote, “These rallies, initiated by 31 Bridge of Hope centers in different places, were witnessed by 50,000 people. These rallies had a great impact in the society and brought solace to the victims of this deadly disease.”
Each year, GFA-supported workers have the opportunity to support their communities through special programs like these. Please pray for the upcoming programs planned for World AIDS Day this year.