Prof. Adrian Thatcher
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The Virus and the Bible - How living with HIV helps the Church to read it

I gave this talk to a group of about forty theologians and church leaders, in January 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance convened a colloquium, hosted by the Christian Aids Bureau for Southern Africa. Our theme was 'Breaking the Silence: Theological Reflection on HIV Prevention'. We were drawn from all five continents, and from different churches. There was an equal number of women and men, and several of us were living with the virus.

We worked for four days to produce a statement that formulated a Christian basis for HIV prevention acceptable to as many denominations as possible. We were all aware of the stigmatisation that sticks to people living with HIV/AIDS, and which inhibits them seeking a test and treatment. In this paper I identified part of the problem with particular uses of the Bible and of Tradition, and tried to uncover these. The statement, ‘An Invitation to Conversation,’ is published, together with 11 supporting essays in HIV Prevention – A Global Theological Conversation (see link). All the essays can be read on-line as well as in the book.

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