Summary: four questions we need to ask as Christians in response to AIDS

A Christian Response to AIDS

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that has spread over the last 20 years in countries all over the world. Already more than 33 million people throughout the world are infected. More than 14 million have died.

HIV is a virus. Illnesses caused by a virus cannot be cured by antibiotics. (Although medicines may help to reduce the symptoms) People who have a virus - such as a cold- usually get better after a few days or weeks because the white blood cells of the immune system - which are responsible for fighting diseases - successfully overcomes them. When a person is infected with HIV the immune system tries to fight off the virus and does make some antibodies, but these antibodies are not able to defeat HIV.

The person is said to be HIV Positive. Many people do not feel ill at all when they are first infected. They may have no symptoms for a long time. They have not yet got AIDS. HIV acts by gradually destroying the immune system of the infected person. After about 5 to 10 years (although much earlier in a minority of cases) the immune system becomes so weak - or ¡¦deficient¡¦- that it cannot fight off infections as it used to. Eventually the infected person may lose weight and become ill with diseases like persistent severe diarrhoea, fever,or pneumonia, or skin cancer. He or she has now developed AIDS.

At the moment, in spite of much research, there is no cure for HIV or for AIDS and so, sadly, it is almost certain that people diagnosed with AIDS will die.

HIV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breastmilk. It is passed from one person to another - or transmitted - only in very specific ways. These are:

„h through sexual intercourse between a man and a woman or between two men;

„h through infected blood - for example through contaminated blood transfusions or unsterilised needles and syringes. ( In most places today blood transfusions are completely safe because the blood is tested for HIV before it is used to treat patients); and

„h from an infected mother to her baby while it is still in the womb or during childbirth or during breastfeeding.

HIV does not spread through "casual" everyday contact between people. It is not transmitted by coughing, or sneezing, or by touching or hugging someone who has the virus. It is not spread in air, water or in food, or by sharing cups, bowls, cutlery,clothing, or toilet seats. And HIV is not transmitted by biting insects such as mosquitoes, because the quantity of blood on their mouthparts is too minute. (From BBC website)

Is AIDS a special judgment of God upon the homosexual community?

1. What is the conclusion of the book of Job who suffered terribly and whose friends spoke that he must have done something terrible to deserve God¡¦s punishment?

7After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "I am angry with you and with your two friends, for you have not been right in what you said about me, as my servant Job was. Job 42:7 (NLT)

2. When bad things happen it is always somebody’s sin?

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9:1-3 (NIV)

1About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem. 2"Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than other people from Galilee?" he asked. "Is that why they suffered? 3Not at all! And you will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God. 4And what about the eighteen men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will also perish." Lk.13:1-5 (NLT)

3. What is Jesus¡¦ response to the ¡§AIDS¡¨ (the lepers) victims of His day?

1Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Jesus. He knelt before him, worshiping. "Lord," the man said, "if you want to, you can make me well again."

3Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed!" And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Matthew 8:1-3 (NLT)

9As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. "Come, be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. 11The Pharisees were indignant. "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?" they asked his disciples. 12When he heard this, Jesus replied, "Healthy people don¡¦t need a doctor--sick people do." 13Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: `I want you to be merciful; I don¡¦t want your sacrifices.¡¦For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." Matthew 9:9-13

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