July 27, 2009
Voices of Hope Pew Bulletin Story
“Being included here gave me the will to continue living”.
These are the words of the woman who leads the Peruvian Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, a part of the Rosa Blanca Ecumenical Parish Centre. This vibrant meeting place, a program of the Anglican Cathedral in Lima, is engaged in cutting edge accompaniment of people living with HIV/AIDS. The centre challenges stigmatization and discrimination head on by including HIV-positive people at all levels, in decision-making, programming and as members of staff. In 2008 UNAIDS reported that increasing numbers of women are becoming infected with HIV in several countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, although accurate statistics are still lacking. It is well known that the effects of gender inequality and violence leave women and girls more at risk of exposure to HIV. PWRDF has contributed to a baseline study that the centre is undertaking with the University of San Marcos to determine HIV prevalence among women.
Statistics, prevention, access to treatment Ã¢â‚¬” all of these are important in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. But at the heart of making a difference is healing the wounds of stigma and discrimination. The centre’s program coordinator, a person living with HIV himself, sees the centre as having contributed to “giving him back his life”. It is here where faith communities can make an essential contribution.
Centra Rosa Blanca: The will to continue living (PDF)