The Good the Bad and the Ugly: AIDS 2014

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

As with most things in life, the 20th International AIDS Conference (IAC) and its associated events, were full of “highs,” but neither void of the “lows,” nor the “really lows” for that matter. Here I’ll recap the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 2014 Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) Interfaith Preconference and International AIDS Conference based solely on my opinion as a three time participant of both events.

The Good

The Interfaith Preconference brought together the world’s foremost faith leaders in HIV and AIDS to address what most faith groups are reluctant to discuss: faith, stigma, sex, and HIV. The preconference had representation from the Jewish, Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities but also offered a high level panel discussion in conjunction with the Catholic Preconference, which included the likes of Dr. Luiz Loures and Dr. Deborah Birx. To conclude the Interfaith Preconference, the EAA highlighted the voices of…

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A View from Outside

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

by Karin L. Klingman, an infectious diseases physician, member of Lutheran GrACE, and Christ Lutheran Church, in Washington, DC.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with the ELCA Youth Delegation while I was attending AIDS 2014 in Melbourne for work. I was also involved with fund-raising and organizing the travel of 2 of the youths who were sent from the Metro DC synod?one was sponsored by the ELCA and one by donations from the DC area churches raised by Lutheran GrACE (a group of DC area church members who are working to end HIV stigma, and to make churches a more welcoming for HIV positive and HIV at-risk people). Both young men were great additions to the delegation. They are both volunteers at Youth Haven, a camp for HIV affected and infected children and families sponsored and run by Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area.

The…

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Ignorance and Misinformation Keeping HIV/AIDS Alive

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

Most people probably know that HIV can leads to AIDS, and that AIDS is something that can make you very sick. While there is currently no cure, there is medication that can fight the virus and allow those living with it to live healthy lives. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus; it is a virus that affects the immune system by destroying immune system cells that help the body fight off bacteria and viruses. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome which is classified when the virus destroys a certain number of immune system cells. There are common misperceptions about the way this disease is spread. HIV/AIDS is commonly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse, exchanging needles, and mother to child transmission during birth/breast feeding stage. HIV is not spread through “feces, nasal secretions, saliva, mucus, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit unless these are contaminated with blood.”

Medication exists called Antiretroviral…

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The Main Event

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

Attending the 2014 AIDS Conference was so amazing because I learned so much during the workshops and exploring the global village. One of the workshops I attended was titled: “Curing HIV.” It was exciting because there’s so much research behind medicine to reduce the infection of HIV and that makes me happy.

I liked the global village the most. There were so many organizations promoting information and other good things to end HIV/AIDS. This experience has changed my life and I’ll never forget it.

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Out Front: A Call to Action for U.S. Churches in the HIV/AIDS Response

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

The closing plenary of the EAA Interfaith Preconference of the 20th International AIDS Conference featured young adult voices in the fight against HIV from different contexts around the world. Panelists included a young woman from India who is living openly with HIV and a young man from Togo who is an actor and peer educator in the reduction of HIV in young men who have sex with men (MSM). I had the pleasure of joining them as a representative of the United States context where I talked about the tasks of the Christian Church in equipping ourselves for the HIV/AIDS journey beyond 2015.

If the Church is to remain relevant in the fight against HIV in the United States and in the world, the Church must improve its outreach to youth and young adults. It’s no secret that Millennials are all but absent from the Church, not because young…

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Snapshots!

ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS2014

Stepping Up in Faith.  We as faith communities are crucial in reaching the end of AIDS.  Stepping Up in Faith. We as faith communities are crucial in reaching the end of AIDS.

These guys are golden. These guys are golden.

Inspiring women from YWCAs around the globe. Inspiring women from YWCAs around the globe.

Stephanie, the photographer! Stephanie, the photographer!

Just a quick (chilly!)  walk from our hotel to the Convention Centre. Laughing keeps the cold away. Just a quick (chilly!) walk from our hotel to the Convention Centre. Laughing keeps the cold away.

We made it!! We made it!!

The ELCA Young Adult Cohort with Karin from Lutheran Grace. The ELCA Young Adult Cohort with Karin from Lutheran Grace.

The ELCA young adult cohort with our ELCA colleagues Rebecca Duerst and Chandran Martin.   So great to make connections! The ELCA young adult cohort with our ELCA colleagues Rebecca Duerst and Chandran Martin. So great to make connections!

Opening plenary session with a few of our closest friends. Opening plenary session with a few of our closest friends.

The lives lost on flight MH17 were memorialized and celebrated often through the week.  The lives lost on flight MH17 were memorialized and celebrated often through the week.

We laugh and we cry...the best ways to create friendships!  We laugh and we cry…the best ways to create friendships!

Melbourne all lit up! Melbourne all lit up!

TOO excited to eat Nando's --- something we both ate often as YAGM in South Africa.  TOO excited to eat Nando’s — something we both ate often as YAGM in South Africa.

Interfaith worship service.  Interfaith worship service.

DSC00842 Interfaith worship. So beautiful and necessary!

Waiting waiting waiting to see President Bill Clinton address the conference! Waiting waiting waiting to see President Bill Clinton…

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