International Bible Society pits the Bible against HIV/AIDS.

By February 14, 2006

South Africa (MNN)–History shows behavioral change is the most effective weapon against HIV/AIDS. Uganda’s abstinence-based program, which now serves as a model for countries around the world, is credited with reducing HIV prevalence in that country from 18 percent in the early 1990s to seven-percent in 2005.

Following a similar track, the International Bible Society is seeing growth in its Scripture-based Reach 4 Life program [http://www.r4l.org].

Since the launch, they’ve expanded throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. IBS’ Nancy ‘Cricket’ Barrazotto says they’re targeting a youth culture and giving them another option toward abstinence.

She says, “We are creating, through ‘Reach 4 Life’, a biblical model that gives the kids an understanding of who they are in the Lord.”

Barrazotto sums it up by a recent call to one of their staffers. The man on the phone was a Muslim imam who asked for information on the ‘Reach 4 Life’ program.

The IBS staffer explained that the resource contained a Gospel tract and a 40-day Bible study in it. The ‘Reach 4 Life’ book, contains the full text of IBS’ New International Version (NIV) New Testament plus 250 pages of straightforward notes in youth-friendly language, provides a holistic message of abstinence. It tackles such issues as sex, alcohol, and drugs, and zeroes in on topics including promiscuity, pregnancy, and most specifically, HIV/AIDS.

Once explained, the imam’s response? Barrazotto says, “This imam said to my colleague, ‘Please, may we have it? Because HIV does not know whether a teen is a Muslim, a Christian or a Hindu.'”

Since the launch in 2004, IBS has received hundreds of testimonies from youth choosing to either remain or become abstinent as a direct result of their encounter with ‘Reach 4 Life’.

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