Hope Is Alive
2023 Spring Newsletter from the UMC Global AIDS Committee
A Word from Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Chair of the UMC Global AIDS Committee
Easter reminds us that hope is alive.
The resurrection proves that nothing – no thing – is impossible with our God.
We Christians, like the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, cry out: Oh Death where is thy sting?
The grave cannot contain our Lord. Neither can the grave or any other seemingly hopeless situation contain the power of our God.
As we enter this Easter season, we enter a season of incredible hope.
This hope renews our strength as we face the continued battle against HIV and AIDS.
Let us not forget that in the early years of the epidemic, hope seemed bleak. The origins of the virus were unclear. Its transmission was unclear. Treatment was unclear.
The only certainty was the destruction of lives.
And then, slowly humankind began to unravel the mystery. The virus was traced to its origins. Transmission paths were identified. Treatments were discovered.
In the years since the beginning of the virus, we have made tremendous progress. However, our work is not yet done.
There are still many lives impacted by HIV and AIDS. There are still those who are suffering and dying.
According to the Center for Disease Control:
- 30,635 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States and dependent areas in 2020. The annual number of new diagnoses decreased eight percent from 2016 to 2019.
- An estimated 1,189,700 people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which this information is available. Of those people, about 87 percent knew they had HIV.
- If we look at HIV diagnoses by race and ethnicity, we see that Black/African American people are most affected by HIV. In 2020, Black/African American people accounted for 42 percent (12,827) of all new HIV diagnoses. Additionally, Hispanic/Latino people are also strongly affected. They accounted for 27 percent (8,285) of all new HIV diagnoses.
- HIV is largely an urban disease, with most cases occurring in metropolitan areas with 500,000 or more people. The South has the highest number of people living with HIV, but if population size is taken into account, the Northeast has the highest rate of people living with HIV. (Rates are the number of cases of disease per 100,000 people. Rates allow number comparisons between groups of different sizes.) According to the World Health Organization:
- 38.4 million people worldwide lived with HIV in 2021 (the most recent year for data).
- The same year, 650,000 people worldwide died from HIV-related illnesses.
- The majority of those living with HIV worldwide in 2021, were adult women (an estimated 19.7 million people).
- Though the numbers are disheartening, hope remains.
- Through the efforts of scientists, doctors, researchers, and those of us in the community of faith, an end to HIV and AIDS is possible.
Those of us serving on the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee are committed to do our part. We will pray for those suffering. We will pray for those fighting the virus. We will pray for an end to HIV and AIDS. We will also do all we can to provide spiritual support, education and resources to the world.
May God bless all our efforts. As Christians, we know there is tremendous hope despite our circumstances. The God who can overcome the grave, can overcome HIV and AIDS. There is hope! Be encouraged!
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LORD, we thank you for your presence and power in our lives. We pray you will heal your children from HIV and AIDS. We recognize your power over the grave and over all things equally impossible. Amen.
Want to connect with UMGAC? Contact UMGAC Consultant Rev. Dr. Sunny Farley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-574-1309.