Nashville, Tenn.: This World AIDS Day, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF) Committee invites all who are interested in helping a child be born free from HIV/AIDS to support the “Countdown to Zero: Just Save One” initiative.
“This year, World AIDS Day falls on the day following the beginning of the season of Advent. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it seems like a fitting time to give the gift of helping a child be born AIDS-free,” said Linda Bales Todd, co-chair of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee.
Here are some ways that individuals and churches can participate in order to raise awareness, “Just Save One” – or save more than one:
- Make a $10 donation to UMGAF in honor of every child on your Christmas list who was born HIV/AIDS free (child, grandchild, niece/nephew, godchild).
- Participate in Giving Tuesday, a nationwide campaign aimed at unleashing generosity, on the day after World AIDS Day by making a donation in any amount through the Advance and share a post on social media using these hashtags: #GivingTuesday #WorldAIDSDay #justsaveone.
- Collect a special offering on the eve of World AIDS Day, Sunday, November 30, to honor healthy children in your congregation and in recognition of the campaign to eliminate mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission.
- Utilize the 2014 Advent Study titled “The Season for Change,” a four-week free, downloadable Bible study that addresses HIV/AIDs and social justice advocacy. The first week of the study coincides with observance of World AIDS Day on December 1.
- Share information with your congregation about this initiative. Brochures are available at https://umc-gbcs.org/store/category/advocacy.
The UMGAF launched “Just Save One” in 2013 to emphasize the prevention of transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to babies during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding. UNICEF reports that 1,000 babies are born each day with HIV.
According to the World Health Organization, mother to child transmission rates range from 15 to 45 percent in the absence of interventions. Effective interventions can reduce this rate to levels below five percent. Offering pregnant women testing and treatment is an important step towards reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS by preventing transmission to their babies at a very low cost.
“As we look at our own families, we likely don’t see babies who are born with HIV/AIDS, because infants in the U.S. are rarely born with AIDS. Sadly, that is not true globally,” said Dr. Donald Messer, UMGAF co-chair and Executive Director of the Center for the Church & Global AIDS. “We have it within our power, however, to reduce the number of mother-child transmissions. Now is the time for United Methodists to unite in our efforts through the “Just Save One” initiative to help create whole, healthy families all over the world.
To “Just Save One”, drop a check in the offering plate. Make the check payable to your local church with UMCOR Advance 982345 or mail to P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. For more information, go to www.umglobalaidsfund.com.