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Press Release: AIDS 2012 Faith groups to address dignity and justice in HIV response

29. May 2012

    Hundreds of representatives of different faiths around the world are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., to participate in AIDS 2012, the 19th International AIDS Conference being held 22-27 July 2012.

    Just days before, however, many will attend an interfaith conference at Howard University that will looks at the current challenges and opportunities in developing an effective response to HIV.

    The interfaith pre-conference, “Taking Action for Health, Dignity, and Justice” will be held 20-21 July. Participants will focus on the response to HIV from faith communities, and will explore both advocacy and on the ground responses during three plenary sessions and numerous workshops.

    A plenary session on “Dignity” will focus on inclusive religious and community responses which treat all people with respect and examine some of the social and legal barriers that prevent inclusion in HIV programs.

    A plenary on “Health” will examine the challenges in scaling-up anti-retroviral treatment and highlight opportunities for faith-based organizations to help increase access to treatment, both through advocacy and practical hands-on involvement.

    The final plenary on “Justice” will explore the attitudes, policies, social inequalities and practices that continue to make people on the margins of society most vulnerable to HIV – and challenge participants to address these issues.  In addition, over 24 workshops will allow participants to delve into each of these issues more deeply.

    Religious leaders from around the world will participate. Confirmed plenary speakers include:

    • Rev. Dr Nyambura Njoroge, World Council of Churches, Kenya
    • Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Centre, USA
    • Dr Rosalee Velloso Ewell, World Evangelical Alliance, Brazil
    • Ms Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service
    • Canon Gideon Byamugisha, Christian Aid Goodwill Ambassador, Uganda
    • Ms Faghmeda Miller, Positive Muslims, South Africa
    • Bishop Yvette Flunder, United Church of Christ City of Refuge, USA
    • Ms Moono Nyambe, Global Network of People Living with HIV, Zambia
    • Swami Advaidananda, International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+), Réunion Island
    • Dr Ronald Lalthanmawia, Christian Medical Association of India
    • Rev. MacDonald Sembereka, INERELA+, Malawi

    The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is the lead international sponsor of the interfaith pre-conference, working in partnership with The Balm in Gilead as the lead national sponsor. Additional co-sponsors include INERELA+, Religions for Peace, Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS, Catholic Medical Mission Board and the American Jewish World Service.


    Interfaith prayer service at National Cathedral

    In cooperation with the NAMES Project Foundation - AIDS Memorial Quilt, which will be displaying portions of the AIDS quilt during the International AIDS Conference, an interfaith service of prayer and healing commemorating the Quilt and those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses will be held at the National Cathedral at 7:00 pm Saturday, 21 July. Free tickets for the event will be made available through registration at the interfaith pre-conference and box office. Details on further ticket availability will be provided in late June at www.iacfaith.net.

    For more information on the interfaith pre-conference and other faith-based events at AIDS 2012 visit www.iacfaith.net .


    For more information or to arrange interviews contact: Sara Speicher, sspeicher@e-alliance.ch, +44 7821 860 723.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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