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U.S. News

Latino Religious Leaders Confront HIV/AIDS Stigmas at L.A. Conference

October 29, 2010

The fourth annual Latinos, Faith, Culture, HIV and Mental Health Conference, held on Oct. 25 in downtown Los Angeles, drew 175 participants who discussed topics including drug use and the needs of LGBT youth.

The conference, funded by CDC and other public health agencies and organized by The Wall Las Memorias Project, aimed to tackle social taboos in the faith community. "Quite a few churches in the community are very active on issues of immigration reform, on feeding the homeless or cancer awareness, but AIDS is something they probably don't discuss as much," said Eddie Martinez, associate director of TWLM. "The truth is, sexuality is attached to this and if they talk about sexuality, then they also talk about gay issues, so they'd rather not talk about AIDS at all."

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See Also
HIV & Me: A Guide to Living With HIV for Hispanics
The Body en Español
More News on HIV in the U.S. Latino Community

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Mike Rivera (Hartford, CT) Tue., Nov. 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm EDT
“Love the sinner, hate the sin”, is a saying I’ve heard often from Christians explaining why we should help people no matter their behavior. As Christians we should never judge, condemn or reject someone regardless of what we think of their lifestyle. Jesus himself made it clear when he said in Mark 2:17, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And since we are ALL sinners we must never forget that God’s mercy and grace is on us ALL. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:10 that, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” So then what’s the problem with Christians and HIV/AIDS stigma? In my experience (as a Christian who has worked in the field of HIV prevention & care since 1989) I’ve found that the problem has to do with translations, interpretations and opinions. Many people with HIV infection or at risk of infection have, at some point in their lives, engaged in one or more behaviors described in the bible as displeasing to God. Even people who are only faintly acquainted with the bible know this to be true of the bible. Most Christians believe the bible to be the Word of God and the absolute Truth. However, there so many translations, interpretations and opinions of what the bible may actually mean that it’s often easy to get confused. The great thing about the bible nowadays is that any literate person can read it for themselves and everyone else can listen to it either on tape or some other form of audio media to decide for themselves what the bible means. While one cannot fault a Christian for believing in the Word of God, we are ALL responsible for how we interpret it – herein is the real problem. Because the bible is the Holy Living Word of God it cannot be treated like just any other book. Reading the bible requires meditation in the spirit and interpretation by the Spirit of God in order for the reader to receive its revelations. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to reach the people of God. Ask God for His revelation.
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