Talking about faith: a Christian with HIV, Horcelie Sinda Wa Mbongo (currently Miss Congo UK), and Vida Boateng, in one of the videos in the resource
A NEW government-funded video series produced by Christians living with, or affected by, HIV has been praised by church leaders and health professionals.
The online resource, Positive Faith, explores the relationship between HIV and faith. It is due to be launched in London next Thursday, 12 October, by the charity Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS), with grant support from Public Health England, part of its £600,000 HIV Prevention Innovation Fund.
The series has been designed to help churches and schools bolster HIV-prevention efforts, and become more aware of, and welcoming towards, those affected. It is also being promoted as a useful resource for health and social-care professionals.
"It is still stunning to me that I can see people with HIV talking about themselves in a church context, on video, without their faces’ being hidden,”
The director of Hertfordshire Public Health, Professor Jim McManus, a project sponsor and national lead on HIV, said: “If churches are sometimes uncomfortable about HIV, health services still feel uncomfortable about faith. This resource seeks to bridge that gap.”
Short videos of Christians who live with HIV, produced by Kip Loades, explore Christian narratives about healing and acceptance, with the aim of reducing stigma in churches. Accompanying material for small groups offers a “medically accurate and theologically responsible” guide to understanding HIV.
“It is still stunning to me that I can see people with HIV talking about themselves in a church context, on video, without their faces’ being hidden,” Professor McManus said. “That would just not have happened ten years ago.”
One of the contributors, the Most Revd Timothy Radcliffe OP, said: “The challenge for the Church is to bring back people with HIV as full members of the community — not only for what they can receive, but for what they can give. God will not desert them.”