A new resource targets HIV sufferers in South Africa

By February 9, 2004

South Africa (MNN/IBS) — On January 19, 2004, International Bible Society (IBS) released its new Reach4Life abstinence New Testament at a gathering of some 100 pastors, ministry leaders, business people and community officials in Johannesburg, South Africa. IBS developed Reach4Life as a resource for organizations providing HIV/AIDS education in schools across South Africa.

With an estimated 5.3 million South Africans HIV positive at the end of 2002, abstinence-based education appears to provide the best hope for stemming the tide of the pandemic. Numerous health organization reports show that Uganda’s abstinence-based ABC program has contributed significantly to a drop in the country’s HIV-prevalence rate from 30 percent in 1992 to 4.4 percent in 2003.

Reach4Life, built around the full text of IBS’ English New International Version New Testament translation, includes information about HIV-the myths, the facts, the avenues of infection, and the impact of the disease on a person’s life. It also clearly presents instructions for developing and practicing a moral lifestyle. The non-Scripture textual material was developed by a South African with proven skills in writing for youth and was evaluated and approved by highly respected university researchers in South Africa.

Peter Torry, IBS Executive Director of International Development, was in Johannesburg for the release. Torry commented, “Youth in South Africa who are not yet infected with HIV hold the most potential to interrupt the HIV pandemic. We believe this New Testament will help equip junior high and high school kids to follow moral standards that naturally lead to healthy and productive lives.”

IBS is working with Hisnet, a consortium of faith-based agencies teaching HIV prevention in schools across South Africa. Hisnet members include, among others, African Enterprise, Students’ Christian Organization, The Salvation Army, Scripture Union, Youth Alive and Youth for Christ in South Africa.

The first print run of 45,000 copies of Reach4Life will be distributed by IBS and Hisnet agencies over the next several months. IBS estimates the potential need for the resource in South Africa is approximately 12 million copies-the estimated number of students, ages 11-18, in about 30,000 schools.

International Bible Society, founded in 1809, faithfully translates, publishes and reaches out with God’s Word so that people around the world may become disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His Body.

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