Since the early ‘80s, I have been concerned about the response of the religious community to HIV/AIDS, in terms of caring for those whose lives are affected, advocacy for medical research, and preventative efforts. I helped establish the Interfaith AIDS Coalition and Omega House, a hospice for indigent, terminally ill persons with AIDS, both in Houston. In one parish, I recruited people to serve on AIDS care teams. In another, I organized support groups for persons with AIDS, their friends, and families. For three years I was privileged to chair the AIDS Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
I do not believe HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment any more than I believe blindness was God’s punishment for the man whose sight Jesus restored as reported in the Gospel of John. But I do believe the ongoing reality of this disease throughout the world presents an opportunity for the manifestation of God’s glory through our response.
These three public service announcements, produced by a group of teens from Galveston’s St. Vincent’s Episcopal House, are a fresh example of one way the Church can heighten public awareness of the importance of the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.