[Episcopal News Service]
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
After 20 years of living with HIV/AIDS, we as members of the Body of Christ continue to face the challenge of this life-destroying disease in our congregations, our communities, and the world. Estimates prepared for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS this past June indicate that at the end of last year 36.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, with approximately 22 million deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS. Each day nearly 15,000 people become infected by HIV, ninety five percent of whom are in developing countries, and 1,700 of those are in children under 15 years of age. These horrific statistics only begin to give a sense of the pandemic in our midst.
Each year congregations around our church set aside a time for prayer particularly for all those affected by HIV/AIDS. In some instances it is a specific Sunday in the fall; others use World AIDS Day on December 1. I would encourage you to set aside such a time. Resources and information for World AIDS Day can be found on the web site of the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition, which is www.NEAC.org.
Please join with me in prayer for all those who suffer from HIV/AIDS, for their families, for the medical professionals and all those who care for the sick, that their commitment and love may be a sign of Christ's love in the world.
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate