Friday 1 December is World Aids Day 2017.
This year’s campaign promotes the theme, ‘Right to health’.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with the condition, to reach the goal of universal health coverage by 2030.
HIV is a condition which targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections and some types of cancer. The virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, thus gradually making infected individuals become immunodeficient.
Africa accounts for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections with 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2016, according to WHO. Under the slogan ‘Everybody counts’, the Organisation would like people with the condition to be able to gain access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines.
No matter how a disease was contracted by a patient, our responsibility as believers is to be ministers of grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness, Pastor Mukisa Fred of Voice of Truth Mission Ministries – Mukono says.
“The Church has a mandate to join the fight, to end the isolation and negative stigma surrounding HIV, and help to stop its transmission,” he adds. “Detecting HIV early is beneficial so that the individual can gain access to specialist treatments early.”
Some Christians still believe AIDS represents a punishment for sin, just as lepers were often blamed for their condition during the time of Christ. Fortunately, some churches have moved from a posture of blame and condemnation to one of compassion and love.
Debate on whether to take drugs or wait on God for healing
In the early church, James exhorted sick Christians to have the elders pray over them for healing (James 5:14), a scripture cited by some modern churches that discourage or forbid members from seeing doctors.
But it isn’t biblical, as Mark Sempebwa, a medical practitioner and Christian leader tells UG Christian News.
“No matter how proponents twist Scripture, the Bible does not say that in the church age every Christian should not seek medical help from people whom God has endowed with the intelligence and ability to provide it. Many times Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well,” but He never told us to avoid doctors.” Mr Sempebwa says.
“It’s become a common teaching that God wants everyone to be healthy – which is true, but we have to choose to be by internalizing His word and having enough faith. We had disciples who were physicians,” he adds.
“Medicine and faith can both bring healing,” according to popular Evangelist Billy Graham. “It’s wrong to assume that medicine and faith are necessarily opposed to each other, or that illness is only the result of a lack of faith.”
“No one in the Bible had a stronger faith than the Apostle Paul; he’s rightly been called the greatest Christian who ever lived. Yet at times Paul was assailed by physical problems and illnesses, and even when he prayed for God to take them away, it didn’t always happen.” Graham explained as he responded to believers’ questions on the billigraham.com website.
Paul discovered, according to Graham, that God can use use any situation to make him trust God more completely, “and as a result become spiritually stronger. He wrote, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10),” Graham said.
Uganda Joins the fight
Uganda will today join the rest of the world to commemorate the World AIDS Day (WAD). This year’s celebrations will be held in Kole district, Northern Uganda. His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected to be the Guest of Honour.
Different from the global theme, Uganda’s will be; Reaching men, girls and young women to reduce new HIV infection.
Minister for Presidency, Hon. Esther Mbay said during a Tuesday press conference in Kampala that “the theme entails promoting male participation which is vital for creating the required impact on closing the tap on new HIV infections among girls and women. This is because the biggest percentage of girls and young women get infected by older men.”