The challenge of living with HIV/AIDS

Twenty years ago this month, I wrote a five-part series on AIDS for United Methodist News Service.

When I reread those stories this week, I was struck by the number of churches and individuals already involved in ministry to people with AIDS or “PWA” – a popular term back then. In fact, some 22 resolutions on AIDS education and ministry were passed by the denomination’s annual conferences in 1988.

Terry Boyd, a 39-year-old gay man with full-blown AIDS, was the subject of one of my stories. A former Catholic, he and his partner, Richard Glodo, were members of Lafayette Park United Methodist Church in St. Louis.

Terry made it clear that the support he received from his congregation not only helped him in the battle against his disease but also strengthened his faith in God – to the point where he was offering prayers of thanksgiving during what could have been the darkest period of his life. He even wrote a book on his experiences, “Coping with AIDS: A Christian Perspective.”

“I truly feel that even in the face of AIDS, I have been blessed tremendously,” he told me.

Terry died on April 17, 1990, four months after my series was published. The real challenge, he had said, was not dying of AIDS, but living with AIDS.

By the end of 2008, an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. On this World AIDS Day 2009, and all the days afterward, United Methodists can take actions to help them deal with that challenge. One way is by contributing to the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Racism
Carol Morrison.  Photo courtesy of the author. Carol Morrison's commentary appears in the Blogs and Commentaries section of UM News.

A shattered windshield, a shattered worldview

As a white teacher at a historically Black college, Carol Morrison thought of herself as a minority. A dramatic incident taught her how mistaken she was.
Social Concerns
Anita Campbell. Photo courtesy of Anita Campbell

It’s never too late to do the right thing

Anita Campbell witnessed racism in college in the 1960s South, but stayed mostly quiet about it. The national anti-racism movement of the past year spurred her to speak out and get involved.
Social Concerns
Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Photo by Tessa Tillett for the Indiana Conference.

'I believe in the resurrection and reparations'

Conversation, education, and truth and reconciliation are needed in the struggle to dismantle racism.