United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Seeks to Raise $8 Million

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2005

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United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Seeks to Raise $8 Million

Washington, DC: The United Methodist Church hopes to raise $8 million over the next four years--$1 for every U.S. member--to help fight the global HIV and AIDS pandemic.

At its first meeting last week in Washington, DC, members of the United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund Committee voted to use the first $50,000 in donations to expand programs aimed at preventing mother to child transmission. Existing programs in Zimbabwe, piloted by United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's humanitarian service agency, will be used as "templates" for new efforts both in Zimbabwe and other countries such as India. To date, $120,000 has been received for the fund. The committee also explored strategies for raising money and discussed ways to lessen the burden of AIDS through awareness building, sharing information on risk avoidance and reduction, voluntary testing and counseling, care in the hospital and at home, treating opportunistic infections, providing food and treatment, and support of orphans.

"As the HIV/AIDS pandemic escalates out-of-control globally, United Methodists have an opportunity to create life-saving programs of prevention and education within a climate of Christian compassion and care," said Donald E. Messer, Professor of Practical Theology and President Emeritus of the Iliff School of Theology. "Since the days of John Wesley, we have been on the frontiers of health and hope, love and life. United Methodists favor action, not apathy; compassion, not condemnation; and liberation, not stigmatization."

A resolution passed by the 2004 General Conference, the denomination's legislative assembly, called for the creation of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund to be used to support programs offering HIV and AIDS education, prevention, treatment and care services in the U.S. and around the world. The resolution also established the Global AIDS Fund Committee to oversee the promotion, use, supervision and distribution of the fund.

AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, responsible for three million deaths a year. Seventy percent of the estimated 40 million people living with HIV are in sub Saharan Africa. Approximately 600,000 children each year are infected, and 14 million have been orphaned due to parents dying of AIDS.

Anyone who is interested in giving to the Global AIDS Fund can contribute through their local United Methodist Church or send gifts to: UMCOR Advance #982345 Global AIDS Fund, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. You may also call 1-800-554-8583 to make a credit card donation. One hundred percent of contributions will go directly to AIDS programs.

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