Does your pastor talk about HIV and AIDS from the pulpit? If not, the NAACP believes he should.
The NAACP says black churches can play a role in combatting the alarming impact of HIV on the black community. African-Americans make up almost half of all new HIV infections, and blacks are less likely to get treatment and more likely to die of complications from AIDS than any other race.
The NAACP has put together a manual for church leaders to talk to congregants about this disease as well as a 61-page activity manual they released at their convention in Texas. The WaPost continues:
Religious leaders who helped with the manual said black churches have been reluctant to talk about the disease. That’s in part because the topic is wrapped up with sex and homosexuality, often taboo topics in the church.
“Sex is not something church people like to talk about. It’s something they like to do,” said the Rev. Joseph Smith, the assistant to the pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., and one of the people who worked on the manual.
The guides are intended to help pastors begin to broach the important topic with the members of their church.
The guides suggest pastors talk about HIV in sermons, connect their churches with groups that serve people with HIV, promote safe sex and access to condoms, and organize church-based HIV screening drives. The manual also includes facts about the disease and passages from the Bible to serve as inspiration.
Over 250 faith leaders gave input on the manual during an 11-city tour conducted by the NAACP. A total of 400 of the manuals were printed, and they are also available online.
Apparently one pastor, Timothy Sloan of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Texas, got a rapid HIV test in front of his church which prompted more than 160 people to wait in line, some for two hours, to get their own tests at the church-organized testing drive. Sloan said he hopes other ministers have similar success.
It may seem odd to hear about the NAACP wanting to use pastors to tackle this issue in the the black community, but according to the WaPo:
Shavon Arline-Bradley, the director of health programs for the NAACP, who helped oversee the manual’s creation, said it makes sense for the nation’s largest civil rights organization to be involved in the discussion of HIV and AIDS.
“People look at us as just civil rights, and what they’re missing is that health is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time,” Arline-Bradley said.
This news comes as the 19th International Conference on AIDS began in Washington DC this week.
What do you think? Do you think churches should talk about HIV and AIDS? Would you be opposed to taking an HIV test at church?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
More on Madame Noire!
- Unforgettable Underground Films: 8 Black Cult Classic Movies We Love (And May Not Want to Admit)
- Figuring Out Fake Friends: 6 Signs That Your Friends Might Be Green With Envy
- Weekend Wrap Up! Willow Has Something to Say to the Critics! Brandy Wants to Babysit Blue Ivy + More
- Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful: Do You Have Pretty Girl Problems
- Almost Doesn’t Count! Celebs Who Never Quite Made It Down the Aisle”
- Baby, Bye! Celebs Who Took Their Baby Hair Too Far
- Thirsty Much? Bathroom Sink Photos & Other Sexually Charged Cries for Attention