Editor's note: This posting was originally published on the AIDS.gov blog.
During this National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, I wanted to share with you that last week several of my colleagues and I met with representatives from Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from five Federal departments to continue our dialogue about collaborative activities to support the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
As I’ve noted previously, our nation’s diverse and compassionate faith communities are important allies in our national efforts to address HIV/AIDS. The active participation of many of those communities in the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is just one example of their efforts. This annual interfaith observance brings national attention to the AIDS epidemic in the United States and the extraordinary role faith communities can and are playing in AIDS prevention, education, service and advocacy. The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS promotes the continuous national mobilization and education of faith communities to take an even greater role in the implementation of AIDS education and services within their local communities, across the nation and around the world.
Last week’s meeting included thoughtful input from representatives from the Centers at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Veterans Affairs (VA), and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. At the meeting we talked through several ways that we could work together to strengthen and sustain the engagement of faith communities in specific efforts detailed in the Strategy—especially those related to promoting HIV testing and support for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Over the coming months, the Centers, individually and collectively, will be undertaking a variety of HIV-related activities. We’ll keep you up-to-date on these efforts here on the blog.
Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services