Conference Minister Bill Lyons on panel at 5th Annual Integrated HIV Symposium

Bill Lyons participated on the panel during the HIV and Faith Breakout Session at the 5th Annual Integrated HIV Symposium on March 26.

Faith leaders, people living with HIV, and advocates discussed how their organizations have invited dialog about HIV/AIDS. Faith leaders discussed how to encourage other faith based organizations to serve as catalysts for change in thwarting HIV-related stigma and provide much needed emotional support for people living with HIV.

This panel was organized by the City of Phoenix Fast Track Cities Initiative, a voluntary committee appointed to heighten HIV eradication goals as part of a global United Nations led effort. The committee leverages existing resources to end HIV as an epidemic by 2030.

The opening discussion began with a person living with HIV whose attempt to connect with her church was challenging. Panel discussion continued with faith leaders who are comfortable discussing HIV and how they overcame hurdles related to HIV stigma in their congregations. Discussion included methods they use to bring the topic to light and strategies they used to overcome resistance from peers or other leaders in their faiths.

The learning objectives for participants were to:

  • identify some solutions to discussing HIV inside faith based community

  • develop an understanding of how reducing HIV stigma in faith based communities can shape how vulnerable populations approach testing for HIV and support for people living with HIV

  • become aware of strategies for sharing information with religious leaders on facts about HIV

  • gain insight into HIV awareness among participating faith based organizations and/or denominations

The discussion was followed by small group discussions led by a church leader.

Thank you, Bill!