Communities in Crisis
Faith Responds to AIDS (FRA) is an interfaith coalition working to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community.
While African Americans make up approximately 13 percent of the United States population, African Americans account for more than half of new HIV infections. AIDS is the number one cause of death for African-American adults aged 25-44, before heart disease, cancer, and homicide, according to the Balm in Gilead. A 2005 study of major U.S. cities indicated that 46 percent African-American men who have sex with men were HIV-positive, according to Centers for Disease Control.
In Chicago, African Americans account for 65 percent of recently diagnosed adult AIDS cases and 61 percent of recently diagnosed adult HIV cases. The need for innovative HIV prevention education and awareness has reached a critical level.
Faith Responds to AIDS
In recognition of the important role the church plays in the African American community, FRA strives to develop and engage a broad interfaith coalition of Chicagoland area leaders, organizations, and faith communities in a committed and effective response to stop HIV/AIDS and its destructive impact on human bodies, spirits, and communities.
The goals of FRA are:
- Provoke faith communities to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis in their midst
- Provide training sessions and develop materials to empower faith communities to respond to HIV/AIDS. - Promote comprehensive sex education among adults and youth; provide safe spaces for a dialogue on homophobia; provide workshops on communication, pastoral care, and family/community support.
- Create messaging, framing, and response team within the Coalition to respond specifically to neglect, misinformation, and ignorance within the "public square."
- Develop materials that help individuals and organizations engage in HIV/AIDS policy and advocacy.
In 2004, AFC launched Faith in Prevention (FIP), a training initiative to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on the health of African-American men and women through prevention, education, and awareness. Through a grant from the U.S. office of Minority Health, AFC funded 12 partner organizations to conduct HIV/AIDS outreach and awareness-raising activities.
In 2005, AFC provided grants to 11 partners for a second year of the FIP project. FIP partners established ambitious plans to build on past achievements and continue blazing trails.
In 2007, AFC received a grant from the Michael Reese Health Trust to create an eight-month intensive training program for faith leaders to start a new or enhance an existing HIV ministry. Training topics were pulled from the experiences of past HIV ministries. Parts of the trainings were written into the Faith in Prevention manual. Select modules of the manual are available for download below. Access the full manual here (pdf).
Faith-Based Resources (pdf)
Faith in Prevention Training Manual:
Is it Possible to be Gay and Christian?
Homophobia article by Rev. Charles Straight
Call to Commitment Liturgy
Faith in Prevention and FRA Partner Churches
Click here to get a list of churches already involved with Faith Responds to AIDS.
Get Tips on Starting Your Own HIV/AIDS Ministry
Learn from churches that have already begun to talk about HIV prevention in their faith communities. Click here to get recommendations from the 2005 Faith in Prevention Community Recommendations Report.
Want to Get Involved?
AFC welcomes all faith-based organizations, regardless of creed, to join the Faith Responds to AIDS SPC Committee. Download the registration flier here.
Please contact Rev. Doris Green at (312) 922-2322 for more information.