JULY 26, 2008 (Los Angeles) - Former President Bill Clinton and other world renowned government and business key influencers along with leading HIV/AIDS experts will be among 25,000 people from around the globe August 2-8 at the XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008) in Mexico City.
Joining the participants will be Joshua Love, director of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) Global HIV/AIDS Ministry and producer of the documentary film "We Who Are One Body," about a group of 200 children and their caretakers in an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Members and partners of MCC in Latin America, Africa, Europe, the United States, Asia, and others will be attending this historic event.
Love will represent MCC at AIDS 2008 as well as the Ecumenical Pre-Conference facilitated by The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS.
Love will also speak on a panel moderated by Donald Messer of The Center for the Church and Global AIDS and author of Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence: Christian Churches and the Global AIDS Crisis. Love, a survivor of addiction and HIV, has created curriculum and programs used by local churches dealing with HIV/AIDS and the intersections of drug use and addictions.
"Metropolitan Community Churches stands at the intersection of healing and justice in the global effort to end new HIV infections, support people living with HIV/AIDS, and develop spiritual models of healing and awareness for all who are impacted by this pandemic.
"In the early 1980s, Metropolitan Community Churches was among the first churches to open its doors to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS -- at a time when the US government refused to acknowledge them, many doctors would not treat them, most hospitals would not admit them and too many families would not care for them.
"In those early years, MCC conducted the funerals of more than 6000 people who died of HIV complications. Out of that, we developed international grassroots support networks of survivors and allies. During the past three years, Metropolitan Community Churches has extended our commitment to global HIV ministry, including efforts to end homophobic violence, racism, classism, and religious oppression, all of which contribute to marginalization, a key factor in new HIV infections.
"Our goal is to mobilize the world's largest volunteer base, churches, to respond to HIV/AIDS with the same urgency Jesus showed to people in need. Today, 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV. When churches and faith communities of every kind truly practice justice, mercy and compassion, people affected with HIV/AIDS will have what they need."
The AIDS 2008 conference theme of Universal Action Now emphasizes the need for continued urgency in the worldwide response to HIV/AIDS, and for action on the part of all stakeholders (www.aids2008.org) Plenary sessions over the three days focus on key obstacles and opportunities to reaching the goal of universal access to prevention, care and treatment. They include leadership, prevention, violence, vulnerability of children and stigma and discrimination.
AIDS 2008 is convened by the International AIDS Society (IAS), the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is the world's largest and oldest Christian denomination with a primary, affirming ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons, along with their families and friends. Often referred to as "The Human Rights Church," Metropolitan Community Churches has members and adherents in 28 countries. To learn more about MCC's international ministry, visit www.MCCchurch.org.
For Immediate Release July 28, 2008
Joshua Love, Program Director
MCC Global HIV/AIDS Ministry
Tel. (213) 321-3975
To Arrange Press Interviews Or For Photos, Contact:
Jim Birkitt, Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
Tel. (310) 625-4177