Ten years ago, the World Council of Churches said the AIDS pandemic “exposes the complicity and complacency of churches, challenging them to be better involved, more active, and more faithful.” As World AIDS Day arrived December 1, religious leaders were cautiously optimistic that the moral and political will to fight the pandemic is finally being mobilized.
Statistics in a new report released by the United Nations were sobering, but religious groups vowed to keep pushing politicians toward increased action—and spending—against the disease.
The UN’s 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update said the HIV epidemic is growing, with an estimated 39.5 million people worldwide infected with the deadly virus. In addition, the report said:
• 2.3 million of those living with HIV are children under the age of 15. • 4.3 million became newly infected last year, 530,000 of them children.