Christians meet in Russia to discuss HIV/AIDS

By September 20, 2006

Russia (MNN) — HIV/AIDS in Africa has been the focus of the World Health Organization for years. However, Russia and the Ukraine are quickly taking center stages as these countries are seeing unusually high rates of infection. Secular relief organizations are concerned, but so are Christians.

Russian Ministries, in partnership with Tearfund, is so alarmed they’re hosting a conference in Moscow in November. Russian Ministries President Anita Deyenka says official statistics say there are 330,000 who are infected. “But, unofficially most experts in this area feel its about 1 million, or 1 percent of the population. HIV is spreading more rapidly in Russia and Ukraine than anywhere in the world. Not more people infected, but the rise is more rapid and threatening the next generation.”

Experts believe if something isn’t done the infection rate could be similar to Africa.

That’s why they’re holding a conference in Moscow November 15-17, says Deyenka. “We have joined hands and have organized this gathering which is being called ‘The HIV/AIDS Forum of Good Practice and Networking.”

While Russian Ministries is focused on training the next generation for church planting and evangelism, Deyneka says they must get involved in this issue. “So many of the next generation in Russia are dying. The HIV crisis is mostly hitting people under 18. In most of the world it’s over 30 years of age who are infected.”

Deyneka says, “Our goal, along with our cosponsor of this conference, Tearfund, is to bring many organizations together so that we can do some much more for Christ in this way.”

The answer to the HIV/AIDS Pandemic throughout the world, says Deyneka “Is spiritual transformation that ultimately is the answer, new life in Jesus. But, at the same time we need to reach out to people with the message of wholesome living and healthy living and prevention and that becomes possible because of new life in Jesus.”

This isn’t the first effort to address the HIV/AIDS crisis. They’ve organized the ‘Time to Live’ music and film festivals, targeting young people with the Gospel. Pray that God will create a passion in the hearts of His people for HIV/AIDS outreach.

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