As has been frequently observed, the job of implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy does not fall to the Federal Government alone, nor should it. Successfully achieving the Strategy’s important life-saving goals requires the commitment of all parts of society, including the nation’s rich diversity of faith communities. In fact, the Federal Implementation Plan calls upon the Department of Health and Human Services to work with Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships across the U.S. government to develop a plan for engaging more faith leaders to promote support for people living with HIV. Last Fall, we described our initial efforts to foster the engagement of faith communities in these important activities through our collaboration with the Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Education.
Our churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other faith communities are uniquely positioned to contribute to the broad-based national effort underway to reverse the course of the HIV epidemic in America. Many faith communities have been involved in important HIV education, prevention, testing, and care efforts from the early days of the epidemic. To realize the promise of the Strategy’s goals, however, we need even more faith communities to engage in such efforts.
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