Washington: Local Organization Steps Up AIDS Fight
April 3, 2003
Hoping to spotlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raise money to prevent the disease, World Vision, headquartered in Federal Way, Wash., is launching a national campaign today to fight the global crisis. World Vision hopes to increase awareness "in terms of the scope and extent of the pandemic and to encourage a generous and compassionate response by the American people to those who are suffering," said Ken Casey, a leader of World Vision's HIV/AIDS Hope Initiative.Adapted from:
World Vision will announce: a 15-city "Hope Tour" featuring World Vision education events, AIDS experts and Christian musicians; a June 11-12 summit to bring together Christian leaders, congressional leaders and White House officials in support of President Bush's $15 billion global AIDS initiative; a radio and television advertising campaign; and a 30-city concert tour featuring the Christian group 4Him.
Even with war coverage dominating the news, Casey is optimistic that Americans will support the AIDS campaign. "We can turn the tide of this if we get sufficient help," said Casey. The agency provides care for AIDS orphans, stresses abstinence to those not sexually active, encourages faithfulness in marriage, and works to reduce mother-to-child transmission. A lesser part of World Vision's program is dispersing condoms to high-risk groups such as prostitutes.
World Vision is intent on getting more US churches involved in the AIDS crisis. "Up to this point, the church community has been hesitant in its response," Casey noted, but that may be changing. Roosevelt Heights Church of God in Christ in Tacoma is working to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in African-American churches and, through World Vision, helped build a home for AIDS orphans in Uganda. "The stigma, especially in the Christian community, is that it's contracted by one's own choices," said its pastor, the Rev. John Penton. "As a Christian, my job is to have compassion and not to judge those for having it."
News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
04.03.03; Steve Maynard