Lutheran bishops seek to promote AIDS awareness: Leaders undergo HIV testing

April 7, 2009

Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have joined African religious leaders in publicly undergoing testing to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and to end a legacy of church stigma and silence on the subject. “We in the U.S. tend to think of this as a global pandemic unrelated to people in the United States,” Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, said March 5 at the church’s Chicago headquarters. “For me as a married heterosexual man to be tested is a reminder that all communities are affected, if not infected.”

The three-minute tests, conducted while the 67-member ELCA Conference of Bishops met March 5-10, are part of efforts to encourage ELCA members and other Lutherans in the United States and elsewhere to be tested and to know their HIV status.