Care for HIV/AIDS Patients – Easter 4


Overview – Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

Focus Text: Acts 9:36-43

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”

Pastoral Reflection by Rev. Carolyn McClendon, Director, Alliance of AIDS Services, Raleigh

In the past twenty-five years, the face of the AIDS epidemic in this country has shifted dramatically. Initially, gay white men were most identified with the epidemic. Today, the reality is that HIV looks like all of us – regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or faith tradition. The epidemic is growing most rapidly, however, among minorities who have historically experienced a higher risk for poverty, lack of health insurance, co-morbidity, and disenfranchisement from the health care system. The result is a growing number of individuals living with HIV disease who are living at or below the federal poverty level and who have limited or no access to life-saving, life-extending medications.

Personal Vignette by John Paul Womble

So, today in this arena let me say: I am 38 years old and have been HIV positive thirteen years. I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for many years and am now the Director of Development and Public Affairs for the largest AIDS service organization in North Carolina. And I am still in the fight of my life, for your life and the world as a whole…

Key Fact

About 33,000 North Carolinians are living with HIV/AIDS right now.

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Focus Text – Acts 9:36-43

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
Acts 9:36-43

Additional Texts

I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O LORD, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes — it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction, and my neighbors stand far off. Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin, and meditate treachery all day long. But I am like the deaf, I do not hear; like the mute, who cannot speak. Truly, I am like one who does not hear, and in whose mouth is no retort. But it is for you, O LORD, that I wait; it is you, O LORD my God, who will answer.
Psalm 38:8-15

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.
Isaiah 53:2-5a

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money — not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Luke 9:1-6

Other Lectionary Texts

  • Psalm 23
  • Revelation 7:9-17
  • John 10:22-30
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Commentary on Acts 9:36-43

The focus of the text for this Sunday follows the preceding text of Peter healing Aeneus (9:32-34) and serves as a reminder of the continuing ministry of Christ, as demonstrated by the apostle. Likewise, this story reminds us of Jesus raising the daughter of Jarius in Luke 8:41-56 and the healing of the paralytic in Luke 5:18-26.

In this passage, Tabitha, a charitable widow and one of the disciples known throughout the area for her understanding, compassion and care for other widows, has died. Peter is summoned by members of the grieving community with the request to “please come to us without delay.” The purpose of summoning Peter is not identified: whether he is called to bring Tabitha back to life or to be visibly present for those left hurting and grieving is unknown. Yet, regardless of the reason why Peter is summoned, scripture tells us that Peter was summoned: “Please come to us without delay” (NRSV); “do not delay to come to us” (NAS), and “please don’t waste a second getting over here” (The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts), all indicate the seriousness of the situation. In response, “Peter arose and went with them” (NAS); and, “immediately, Peter went off with them.” (The New English Bible). Without question or apparent concern, Peter seems to show no hesitation in going when Tabitha’s friends approach him with the request. The depth of the crisis is immediately apparent and Peter cares and responds. As such, he demonstrates that the church also cares and more importantly, that God cares. Time is of the essence.

In the story of Tabitha, we are given a model of Christian charity to the marginalized in society. We know from scripture (Luke 20:47) that orphans and widows were the economically vulnerable at the time. There was no government safety net to ‘catch them’ or to respond to their need. The immediate response of Peter to this hurting community – to ‘come quickly’ – demonstrates the care and compassion of a loving God toward the plight of the weak and vulnerable. Tabitha is restored to life and to the work of the community which depended on her.

Today, North Carolinians living with HIV/AIDS represent some of the most economically vulnerable in our community. Many of these individuals, because of their economic status, struggle daily to secure the medications needed to help them continue to live with the virus that was once considered a death sentence. Modern-day drug therapies available for persons who are sick can assist persons back into life and better health. However, state laws, such as many here in North Carolina, limit the amount of medical reimbursements that patients can receive; as a result, hundreds of individuals living with HIV/AIDS do not have access to the drugs that would extend and enhance their lives. For many persons whose annual income exceeds 125% of the federal poverty level, access to a healthier life is denied, and death is certain.

The story of Tabitha and the action of Peter remind us that God is shepherd of the world, the protector of the vulnerable, the advocate for the oppressed and the ever-present help in times of sorrow and joy. Like Peter, we are called to ‘come quickly without delay’, to respond to the needs of persons in our communities living without adequate health care, to be prophetic in denouncing North Carolina laws that limit a better life for those infected with HIV/AIDS, and to offer new life and health to all of God’s children. In this way, we all have the power to raise people from the dead.

By Rev. Carolyn McClendon, Director, Alliance of AIDS Services, Raleigh

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Pastoral Reflection on Acts 9:36-43

In the past twenty-five years, the face of the AIDS epidemic in this country has shifted dramatically. Initially, gay white men were most identified with the epidemic. Today, the reality is that HIV looks like all of us – regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or faith tradition. The epidemic is growing most rapidly, however, among minorities who have historically experienced a higher risk for poverty, lack of health insurance, co-morbidity, and disenfranchisement from the health care system. The result is a growing number of individuals living with HIV disease who are living at or below the federal poverty level and who have limited or no access to life-saving, life-extending medications.

In a state where monies for medications and other drug therapies are limited, many of the more than 28,000 North Carolinians living with HIV/AIDS are summoning the church to “please come to us without delay;” i.e., “our very lives depend upon it!” People are dying for the opportunity to live better lives afforded by access and use of medications, yet because of state government legislation, many are often denied access because they make too much money and are over the designated income limit.

Acts tells us how God’s community, the church, reached out with compassion to the world around it, to the life that God created among its members. As people of faith, as the church, all of us are called to convey hope and transformative love to all persons who are infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

For many HIV+ persons, however, hope is in short supply. The limitation of life-saving and life-transforming health care places individuals at risk for other health concerns, as well as impacting other areas of their lives. God requires God’s people to be a reflection of God’s love, mercy, justice and hope. As such, the church must be a radical community, acting out on behalf of the God of love and justice for all of God’s people. The stakes are much too high for the church to be anything less.

Throughout scripture, both through direction and by the example of Christ, emphasis has been given to caring for and responding to the needs of the poor and excluded ones amongst us. In the story of Tabitha, Luke offers a model of Christian charity to the marginalized in society. Additionally, Peter’s immediate response to the request of Tabitha’s friends to not “waste a second getting over here” (The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts) represents the swiftness of God to hear and respond out of love and compassion to the needs of God’s children. Peter’s actions show his total dependence on God, while reminding us that we are not alone in responding to the needs of people or to the injustices and wrongs in society.

In the early days of HIV/AIDS, the cry of persons living with this disease was for presence and compassion in their living and for peace and comfort in dying. Life-saving, life-enhancing medications were practically non-existent, fear and judgment ran rampant and horrific, devastating death was inevitable and came too quickly for too many.

As a denominational employee in Louisiana during those days, I witnessed the rapid loss of life and the sudden impact this disease had on families, friends and neighbors in the inner-city community where I ministered. With sadness, anger and disbelief, I listened as people of faith, including denominational leadership, debated and discussed, sanctioned and sentenced, and directed and relegated persons living with HIV/AIDS to places of right and wrong and good and bad – all in the name of God!

As a result of responding to the needs of persons living with and affected by this deadly, life-altering disease, ministry positions were ended. A beacon of hope and help to the hurting in the inner city was eliminated.

As people of faith, it is imperative to respond to the injustices many of God’s children experience. We must be certain that as we respond and advocate for improved health care access for persons living with HIV/AIDS, that resources for other needs are not lessened or eliminated. In essence, we must be certain that holistic care is available for all. Increased access for medical care for HIV+ persons should not lessen or eliminate current existing resources available to provide food for the hungry, housing for the homeless, mental health services and other programs to the hurting.

God requires God’s people to be a reflection of God’s love, mercy, justice and hope. Likewise, as people of faith, we are called into community with other believers who serve one another and serve their neighbors. The direction and example of Jesus is simply put: as people of God, we are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NAS). God requires us to be faithful and to be loving and caring to our neighbors as well. The question then becomes, “Who is our neighbor?” Jesus answers that question in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Our neighbor is anyone that we find in need of spiritual, physical or emotional help. This was evident in Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Jesus spent most of his life and ministry in the worst parts of the cities, associating with the marginalized, the weak and the outcast of the society. He ministered to those who had been condemned by society, and he cared for those who had been ostracized and otherwise forgotten. Jesus was a refuge for the alien, hope for the afflicted, and a source of comfort for the hurting. He was the reflection of God’s love, mercy, justice and hope. As people of faith, as The Church, we can do no less than follow the example of a loving, caring and compassionate God.

God’s infected and affected children continue to plead for people of faith to “come without delay” – to be the hand, the face, the heart and the touch of God to the lonely, the stigmatized and the discriminated. Whether for presence and compassion or for advocacy for medical access, the cry to the church is the same, “Please come to us without delay.” May it be so!

By Rev. Carolyn McClendon, Director, Alliance of AIDS Services, Raleigh

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Worship Aids for Acts 9:36-43

Responsive Reading

God of health and wholeness, we thank you that you care about each of us— children, youth, young adults, those of us who are older. We thank you that you desire abundant life for all of Creation.

Lord, from the midst of our perceived abundance, plunge us deep into a sense of sadness at the pain of our sisters and brothers inflicted by war, prejudice, injustice, and indifference. Help us to learn again to cry as children until our tears baptize us into people who touch with care those we now touch in prayer. Today we especially remember in prayer the millions who have been robbed of health and wholeness because of HIV/AIDS.

God, we pray for those in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. We pray for those in the U.S., North Carolina, and around the world. We pray that all those who endure the physical effects and stigma of HIV/AIDS may feel your loving and welcoming arms and sense our compassion, concern and solidarity as well.

We pray for those who are ill;
We pray for those who are dying;

We pray for mothers lamenting the illness of babies;
We pray for children who have been left alone to become heads of families;

We pray for partners watching a loved one slowly die;
We pray for grandparents who now have young children to care for.

We pray for those who are wrestling with ways to confront the stereotypes, stigma and prejudices fostered by culture and religion. Give them strength.
We remember also and give thanks for those who are developing programs of prevention, education and advocacy. May their efforts be creative and effective and may we learn to be creative and effective from them.

Help us, O God, to continue to pray, but also to act so that the conditions that foster HIV/AIDS will be changed.
Help us, O God, to hear the cries of those who are pleading with us, “Please come to us without delay.”

Help us to respond faithfully like Peter and the other disciples, who without hesitation offered hands of healing and comfort to the sick and the dying.
Help us to encourage our government’s participation in acts of awareness and generosity and help us to call the pharmaceutical industry into acts of solidarity and compassion as well.

Help us to find ways to contribute to the efforts of organizations in North Carolina and of partner churches to address HIV/AIDS.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Savior, brother and friend. Amen.

(Adapted from “Prayers of the People,” The United Church of Canada,

Prayer of Confession

O God, we confess our sin in the midst of HIV and AIDS.
We confess our fear, our selective compassion, and our conditional love.
We have denied and avoided sisters and brothers, families and friends.
We have become disconnected from our neighbors.
We have become disconnected from our own sexuality.
And therefore, we have become disconnected from you, O God.
We have removed them from our midst to hospitals.
Forgive us, O God.
Bring us back to the center of your presence where you hold all who call upon your name.
Help us to break the silence.
Help us to reach out to restore the connections
With all whom you love.
We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

(From “World AIDS Day Worship Resources,”

Prayer and Reflection for Social and Economic Justice in the HIV/AIDS Era

God of liberation and justice, defender of the poor and marginalized, we seek Your guidance.
Give us the vision and the confidence to become prophets when resources are looted.
Let us hear the cry of the widows. Let us feed the orphans. Let us denounce injustice by the powerful.
May we demand drugs for the sick.
May we demand care for the abandoned.
May we denounce wastefulness by the affluent.
Forgive our silence. Forgive our complicity.
In Your mercy forgive our condemnation of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Forgive us when we deal lightly with the wounds of Your people.
Forgive the times when we have offered artificial solutions. Empower us to tackle corrupt systems.
Make us instruments of Your peace. Make us agents of Your transformation.
In the strong name of Christ we pray,

(From Church World Service, “Offering of Prayers,”

AIDS and the Power of God’s Goodness and Grace

We gather in the name of the crucified and risen Christ,
Over whom death had no power and through whom there is life eternal.
We gather as a remembering and a caring community,
A community of faith and hope united by God’s love.
We come to give thanks for those we love,
Those who have cared for us. Those who have brought joy to our lives.
Those we love and pray to be reunited with when the time is right.

God calls to us:
To care for one another, to be compassionate and merciful.
We celebrate God’s goodness and grace,
In the love we give, receive and remember.
We experience God’s goodness and grace
Through arms that embrace us when we are filled with fear.
We are the creation of one Creator God.
The child who cries is every child. The woman weakened and tired is every mother, wife, sister, daughter.
The man is every father, husband, son and brother.
AIDS leaves gaping wounds in the lives of those who have lost the ones they love the most.
God, give us the strength and courage to be present in the midst of loss.
Across the infinity of space and time a common heart beats in every breast,
Forbearing pain and clinging to hope we are brought to a deeper understanding of our common humanity.
We are a family of nations united by our common priceless humanity.
AIDS is a worldwide crisis in the midst of which there is no “we” and “they.”
We confess that we are all affected,
When one of God’s creation suffers we all suffer.
We know Jesus identifies with all who suffer;
Through our faith in Him, healing and wholeness take place.
In AIDS ministry there is giving and receiving;
Like a chalice filled and drained and filled again, we receive Christ and have Christ to give.
When we care for a person who has AIDS we show that we love Christ;
To touch, to bathe, to feed, to clothe the one who is ill is to do this unto Christ Jesus.
Today we are called to be a joyful, thankful people,
Upheld by God’s goodness and grace which has the power to disarm AIDS.

In thankfulness we commit ourselves to being a caring, justice-seeking, nurturing community.
We covenant together in commitment to God and to one another.
We will be a caring community;
We welcome into our community and our church all persons whose lives have been touched by HIV and AIDS. We say to all: “You are welcome here.”
We will be a justice-seeking community;
We will oppose all forms of discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS. We support the right of all persons with HIV and AIDS to housing, employment, services, transportation, accommodations and health care.
We will be a nurturing community;
We will care for one another and love one another. We will pray for God’s creation.
We will be Christ’s presence in each other’s lives. We will be witnesses to God’s unconditional love.
Through Christ’s example we are made finer, gentler, stronger;
Through Christ, the Savior, and the power of God’s goodness and grace we are set free to love, to seek justice, to become all God intends us to be. Amen.

(edited, by Cathie Lyons, from http//
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Suggested Hymns for Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

Help Us Accept Each Other
African Methodist Episcopal Hymnal 588
New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ) 388
Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ) 487
Presbyterian Hymnal 358
United Methodist Hymnal 560

Lord, You Give the Great Commission
The Hymnal (1982) 528
Moravian Book of Worship 617
Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ) 459
United Methodist Hymnal 584
Presbyterian Hymnal 429
Gather Hymnal (Catholic) 456

O Christ, The Healer
United Methodist Hymnal 265
Presbyterian Hymnal 380
Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ) 503
New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ) 175

We Cannot Measure How You Heal
Gather Hymnal (Catholic) 575

We Meet You, O Christ
Presbyterian Hymnal 311
Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ) 183
United Methodist Hymnal 257

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Quotes about Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.
Anthony Perkins

From the point of view of the pharmaceutical industry, the AIDS problem has already been solved. After all, we already have a drug which can be sold at the incredible price of $8,000 an annual dose, and which has the added virtue of not diminishing the market by actually curing anyone.
Barbara Ehrenreich

Those who suffer from AIDS deserve better than to be branded as sinners outside our concern and to be forced to become some kind of latter-day lepers.
Theodore Bikel

AIDS and malaria and TB are national security issues. A worldwide program to get a start on dealing with these issues would cost about $25 billion.
Jared Diamond

Following Christ’s example closely, the Church has always considered the care of infirm people to be an integral part of its mission. I therefore encourage the many initiatives underway to overcome this sickness, especially by church communities, and I feel close to people with AIDS and their families, invoking upon them the Lord’s help and comfort.
Pope Benedict XVI

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Vignette about Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

Twenty Five Years and Counting…

June 5, 2006 marked the 25th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS.

My father, John Sidney Womble was a Baptist minister, a loving and good father as well as a gay man. After he and my mother divorced he moved to San Diego, California. I stayed in North Carolina and continued to be raised a Southern boy. When I was 18 years old, I learned that my father was HIV positive. This man who was my hero, close friend and mentor was very, very sick. This man who believed his limits – and mine – were only confined by our ability to persevere, encountered the first thing in his life that he could not master or overcome – AIDS. He developed PML, a rare and horrific opportunistic infection that subsequently caused him to go partially blind and lose his ability to “appear” well. His worst fears were being realized – all of them: he was alone, sick, “weak” and dying. And the world around him thought by being gay he was perverted and “deserved” what he got. So, rather than live in pain with judgment abounding, he checked in to a hotel in Southern California, drank a bottle of Jack Daniels, took an overdose of sleeping pills and left a note that said, “Son – Let the official story be heart attack, sweet peace and goodnight!” He was 43 and I was 22.

Now you might think the story ends there, but that would be just to dad blamed easy….

I came out of the closet to my dad and my family years before his death, when I was sixteen years old. And my plight, as it were, was made exponentially easier by the path my father had blazed. I was not petrified of being gay nor hindered by a fear of touching or loving someone with AIDS. I was in fact probably overconfident – in some ways – and not afraid enough in others.

Now, don’t get me wrong…losing my father and mentor also meant losing someone who might instill reasonable confidence and a steady hand in my development as a young man. Unfortunately somewhere between the ripe old age of 23 and 25, I managed to follow a little too closely in my dad’s footsteps and I myself became infected with HIV. Like father like son, huh.

I had some great teachers and learned from the best, but my dad was in a class by himself! What did I learn?

Speak the facts;
Speak the truth;
And stand up in the arena – we are in the battle for our lives!

So, today in this arena let me say: I am 38 years old and have been HIV positive thirteen years. I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for many years and am now the Director of Development and Public Affairs for the largest AIDS service organization in North Carolina. And I am still in the fight of my life, for your life and the world as a whole…

Twenty five years later, I find myself asking two questions: how can we endure in the face of this much loss, this much disease, this much pure grief? And what kind of future am I really trying to create?

In some ways the question of endurance is the easy part. I don’t have a choice; we don’t have a choice. We know that AIDS won’t go away if we ignore it—we’ve already tried that, and the resulting death and destruction is the likes of which we never could have imagined. We cannot, we must not, be silent about AIDS. 25 years ago a small and frankly disliked group of young men in the US began to sicken and then to die, very quickly. But silence and lack of concern didn’t make AIDS go away; silence has cost us the lives of 30 million unique souls. We must not stay silent. I will look to a future where AIDS does not exist. Until that day – until the cure – may we remember those lost, those living and those we must protect – and may God bless you AND be with us always.

By John Paul Womble

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Contacts and Resources for Care for HIV/AIDS Patients
Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina serves the needs of HIV/AIDS patients through compassionate and non-judgmental care, prevention, education and advocacy. In partnership with supporting faith communities, laity and clergy respond to the AIDS pandemic from a place of love through the Faith Ministries Program of AASC. The Faith Ministries Program serves by: (1) developing, training, and coordinating faith-based Care Teams, (2) providing spiritual care and counseling to persons living with HIV/AIDS, their families, Care Teams and other care givers; and (3) providing faith-based HIV/STD education to faith communities throughout the Triangle.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS offers comprehensive worldwide data on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This multinational body brings together the efforts and resources of ten UN system organizations, including UNICEF, World Health Organization, and the World Bank, to the global response to AIDS. They seek to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for people living with HIV, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), a national health organization, seeks to prevent HIV infection and reduce the incidence of HIV-related illness and death, in collaboration with community, state, national, and international partners. The CDC’s programs work to improve treatment, care, and support for persons living with HIV and to help build capacity and infrastructure to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They offer detailed and comprehensive statistics and resources on HIV/AIDS both nationally and locally. The site is available in Spanish.
“The New Age of HIV/AIDS” is a program series that ran a couple of year ago produced by UNC-TV focusing on the state of the disease in North Carolina. The website includes transcripts, interviews, video playlists and other resources for learning about HIV/AIDS.
Project Inform is a national, nonprofit, community-based organization working to end the AIDS epidemic. Its mission is to: Inform people living with HIV, their caregivers, and their healthcare and service providers about the treatment and monitoring of HIV disease; advocate to facilitate research towards a cure and appropriate policies, legislation and funding for HIV research, treatment and care; and inspire people to make informed choices, take effective action in the fight against HIV, and choose hope over despair.
The mission of AIDS United is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States. They work to achieve this goal through national, regional and local policy/advocacy, strategic grantmaking, and organizational capacity building. With partners throughout the country, they work to ensure that people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS have access to the prevention and care services they need and deserve
International AIDS Society is a leading association in HIV professionals. They connect people through conferences on HIV and AIDS. They share information and promote dialogue, education and networking. And they advocate for the right to an evidence-based response to HIV and for a concerted research effort to build that evidence base in order to improve the global response to HIV.
A website dedicated to HIV/AIDS education.’s mission is to use the Web to lower barriers between patients and clinicians, demystify HIV/AIDS and its treatment, improve the quality of life for all people living with HIV/AIDS, and to foster community through human connection.

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Key Facts about Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

1. The HIV pandemic remains the leading infectious disease challenge in global health.

2. Worldwide at the end of 2010, there were

  • 34 million people living with HIV
  • 2.7 million new infections,
  • 1.8 million AIDS related deaths

3. In 2007 there were approximately 6,800 new HIV infections per day. However, according to a report in 2010, the number of people becoming infected with HIV has continued to fall, in some countries more rapidly than others. HIV incidence has fallen in 33 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic.

4. Globally, comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV, including how to avoid infection, among both young men and young women has increased slightly between 2003 and 2010—but still only 34% of youth have basic knowledge.

5. North Carolina at a glance as of the end of 2009, there were:

  • 1,710 new HIV disease cases reported in North Carolina;
  • 24,248 people in NC knowingly living with HIV disease;
  • approximately 11,000 people who do not realize they are HIV positive;
  • therefore, the true prevalence of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina is 35,000.

6. In 2010, HIV was the seventh leading cause of death for residents ages 25–44 (in North Carolina).

7. During the 2005–2009 period, the age-adjusted mortality rate for HIV was 15.7 per 100,000 population for North Carolina’s non-Hispanic African Americans and 3.1 for Hispanics, compared with an age-adjusted death rate of 1.1 among non-Hispanic whites.

8. Drugs to treat HIV/AIDS cost up to $13,000/year. While generic drugs are considerably cheaper than branded drugs, the newer drugs which are more effective and more expensive are patented, and therefore do not have an affordable generic version.

9. In fiscal year 2007–2008, the North Carolina ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance/HIV Medications Program for low-income North Carolinians) program served 4,985 people with HIV/AIDS in the state. Since 2010, to qualify for ADAP, patients (family) must have income less than 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which further restricts enrollment for the program.

10. According to a report using 2009 CDC data, North Carolina is among the 10 US States with the highest rates of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses and HIV-related deaths. While limited access to services is a major barrier to treatment and prevention, the report also identifies social conservatism as another contributing factor to the disproportionate prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the South. The stigma people associate with HIV or AIDS often prevents them from seeking help or even practicing prevention. Many people fear losing their families, jobs, and inclusion in their communities.

  1. Center for Disease Control, “Trends in Global Health and CDC’s International Role, 1961–2011”
  2. UNAIDS “World AIDS Day Report 2011”
  3. World Health Organization, “AIDS Epidemic Update, 2007”; UNAIDS “World AIDS Day Report 2011”
  4. UNAIDS “Global Report, UNAIDs report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010,”
  5. NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, State Center for Health Statistics, HIV/STD Prevention and Control Branch, “Health Profile of North Carolinians: 2011 Update,”
  6. North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics “Table A: Leading Causes of Death by Age Group North Carolina Residents 2010”
  7. North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, “Health Profile of North Carolinians: 2011 Update,”
  8. “Progress on HIV/AIDS, Wednesday, January, 30, 2008” (the qualification has changed to 300% of federal poverty level, see below) at; Avert “AIDS< Drug Prices and Generic Drugs”
  9. North Carolina ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance/HIV Medications Program) also known as the HIV Medications Program, uses a combination of State and federal funds to provide low-income residents of the State with assistance in obtaining essential, life-sustaining medications to fight HIV/AIDS and the opportunistic infections which often accompany the disease. For more information, see ADAP Fact Sheet – May 11, 2008 “FACT SHEET: The North Carolina AIDS Drug Assistance/HIV Medications Program (ADAP) Communicable Disease Branch – Division of Public Health, NC DHHS” at “Health Profile of North Carolinians: 2009 Update,” and the official page, “AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)”
  10. The Independent, “Study: N.C. among 10 states with highest HIV infection, death rates,”
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