Sunday, August 27, marks National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NFHAAD) 2023. “NFHAAD is an opportunity to rally all U.S. communities representative of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i and Indigenous faiths to take a stand against stigma and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS,” the organizers explain in a recent Facebook post.
“This year’s theme,” they continue, “is ‘Faith Fighting for Freedom and Fairness’ in response to the attack on state, national, and international HIV resources and the vulnerable communities left behind by defunding the HIV response. Faith communities are encouraged to learn about the status of HIV funding in their states and take action to sustain and increase HIV prevention, treatment and care services for all who require them. Faith communities fighting for freedom and fairness together can end HIV-related stigma and discrimination—one day, each year, until we find a cure!
“To learn more about NFHAAD or to connect with observances happening in your area, visit www.faithaidsday.com or HIV.gov and follow the hashtag #NFHAAD [as well as #FaithAIDSDay, #FaithHIVDay, #FHAAD, #NFHAAD2023 and #FHAAD2023] on social media.”
The awareness day was launched by RAHMA (Reaching All HIV+ Muslims in America). The Arabic word rahma means “mercy.”
“Faith plays a major role in the lives of many Americans,” the organizers write on FaithAIDSDay.com. “Many find faith to be a connection to a spiritual being, deity or creator. Unfortunately for many Americans living with HIV, faith communities can turn from a place of refuge to a source of stigma and turmoil.” Thus, a goal of NFHAAA is to rally communities of faith to take a stand against stigma in their congregations and raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.
In related news, the organizers are promoting a faith-based event that will take place before this year’s U.S. Conference on HIV and AIDS (USCHA), held September 6 to 9 in Washington, DC.
The USCHA Faith Pre-Conference takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 5, at Salon 12 of the Marriott Marquis (901 Massachusetts Avenue NW).
People of faith, faith leaders and people working in the HIV and AIDS response are invited to attend the Interfaith Pre-Conference preceding the U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) to discuss and develop strategies to access and strengthen the capacity of houses of worship and faith-based organizations that are engaged or wish to engage in efforts to end the HIV epidemic.
The conference is described as:
This year’s preconference theme is: “Faith Forward: Contemplating Faith, Celebrating the Divine Feminine, and Combating HIV Stigma.” In alignment with the USCHA theme: “A Love Letter to Black Women,” the focus of this preconference will be on the experiences of people who identify as women and the role of faith in combating HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The preconference will include keynote addresses, panel discussions with persons living with and affected by HIV, breakout sessions on social determinants related to HIV, and gender disparities in HIV education, prevention, and treatment.
Participants will have the opportunity to engage in the discussion, participate in the development of strategies, and network with colleagues working in and with faith communities.
Scholarships are available. See the FAQs for more information.