Press Release

Announcement of National Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

As U.S. religious leaders, faith-based and other organizations acting in the HIV/AIDS response, we join in support and observance of the first National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NFHAAD) on August 27, 2017. We, individuals from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jew, Hindu, Baha’i and Buddhist faiths, seek to engage faith communities to work together for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, treatment, care and support, and to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination. Our mission is supported by events across the country and by numerous social media platforms.

While many faith traditions may include laws and teachings forbidding traditionally stigmatized behaviors, such as extramarital sex and substance use that can put people at risk for acquiring HIV, most faiths also emphasize forgiveness, mercy, and grace in reconciling human frailty with religious and spiritual teachings.

We must accept, support, and care for our faith community members regardless of their histories and their current struggles. Many faith communities have been and are at the forefront of the response to HIV/AIDS in a variety of ways. They are a vital part of providing HIV/AIDS services, especially in hard-to-reach areas, and at times when government and other community-based organizations were slow to act in the early days of the epidemic.

Along with NFHAAD efforts in Washington, DC, Ambassadors have been selected to lead events across the nation in cities that have high incidence and prevalence rates of HIV and AIDS. The targeted cities are New York City, NY; Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; Baton Rouge, LA; Memphis, TN; Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Jackson, MS; Philadelphia, PA; Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH and Chicago IL. Advised by a steering committee comprised of leaders from across the nation, the Ambassadors will engage religious leaders of their cities, and rally the local community to make the day a success.

The main event in Washington, DC will begin with an interfaith prayer at The White House, followed by a Prayer Walk to Freedom Plaza where we will conclude with a rally. We chose the White House as our starting point for NFHAAD to show unity in the face of this Administration’s troubling anti-HIV policies. As people of faith, one of our core tenants is to care for the sick and provide ways to foster good health and strengthen well-being.

This obligation is more important now than ever as 40% of people living with HIV rely on Medicaid for their treatment and care. The persistent attempts by this Administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act coupled with the proposed budget cuts to Medicaid and welfare programs for the poor will significantly impact people living with HIV, stripping away their healthcare and vital social services necessary to maintain good health. These acts would reverse the progress that has been made towards getting to zero; therefore it is incumbent upon people of faith to provide support for our community members in need during this tumultuous time of uncertainty, beginning with prayer at the White House.

During the rally at Freedom Plaza there will be remarks from prominent faith leaders, networking, free HIV Testing and more. The evening before, a high level reception will take place at the Human Rights Campaign.

You are invited to join us as we rally faith communities to work towards creating safe spaces for all individuals living with HIV without judgement and stigma.

United We Are Stronger. Together We Are Powerful. One Day. Each Year. Until We Find A Cure.

United We Are Stronger. Together We Are Powerful. One Day. Each Year. Until We Find A Cure.