The FAITH Coalition will mark the 2019 National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, March 3-9, with education, prayer and HIV testing. The coalition joins communities across the country
observing the week in an effort to bring attention and awareness to the AIDS epidemic, as well as to encourage a national dialogue on prevention, treatment and care.
The coalition will commemorate the week with a prayer breakfast on Saturday, March 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the Community Evangelistic Church, 2650 Boyds Bridge Pike. Our featured presentation will be a group from Nashville presenting You Shall LHiV 2: ZERO. This is a theatrical production that presents the methods that will get us to ZERO HIV transmissions. Through personal testimonies, dance, music and song, the production showcases the tools we have to fight HIV transmissions and get to ZERO. The production supports, educates, inspires, entertains and invites the audience to take action in reducing HIV transmissions to ZERO. Free, confidential HIV testing will be offered following the program. The prayer breakfast is free and open to faith leaders, but organizers ask that attendees RSVP by March 2 at 865-410-8597.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 17,522 Tennesseans were living with HIV in 2017. The black community particularly has been hard hit by the epidemic in Tennessee, accounting for more than half (56.4 percent) of those infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV and that 1 in 8 do not know they are infected.
“It is important that our faith leaders step up to the plate in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the stigma that comes with this disease. We believe it is possible to get to zero,” said Deborah Porter, chair of the FAITH Coalition.
The National Week of Prayer also includes:
Ecumenical Prayer Vigil
Sunday, March 3 at 6 p.m., Wesley Foundation, 1718 Melrose Place
Various campus ministries will host an ecumenical prayer vigil. The event is free and open to the public. Faith leaders will pray for courage and inspiration to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic with compassion. Samaritan Ministry will offer free HIV testing at the event.
Reducing HIV Stigma
Thursday, March 7 at 6 p.m., Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church, 546 College St.
Faith and health professionals are invited to attend a dinner and educational program with Patrick Lee, executive community liaison for Gilead Pharmaceuticals. The dinner is free, but registration is required by March 2 by calling 865-410-8597.