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Supporting HIV Prevention as a People of Faith, by Dave Andrews and Greg Manning

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Christian teaching about HIV prevention takes place in a turbulent and competitive social context.  Public support for locally specific and effective HIV prevention interventions has often been slow to come from sources attributed to Christian authority or even Christian identity.  In the absence of Christian consensus and collaboration for HIV prevention, unresolved conflicts among Christians, and between Christians and other population sectors have kept large Christian populations alienated and marginalized in the planning, implementation and evaluation of effective HIV prevention interventions. 


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed some problems which were not solved by traditional laws.  This paper proposes that the Sermon on the Mount offers Christians a way of constructively using the conflicts related to HIV prevention to enter into new conversations with God and people, which enable reconciliation and life-giving transformation.  The model we use does not offer details about the specific design for any HIV prevention intervention.  HIV prevention programmes, which will prevent individual infections, slow down existing epidemics and prevent new epidemics, must be designed according to the specific situation, the people involved and the information and resources available.  However, the proposed model may enable Christian individuals and communities to participate in HIV prevention primarily as people of faith and faithfulness, without needing to become experts in HIV.