Dueling Pandemics

Faith, HIV, and COVID-19

September 10, 2020
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. EDT
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

Religious communities and faith-inspired organizations have always been part of the global response to devastating outbreaks of infectious diseases, playing vital roles that draw on their distinct capabilities. But how should these entities respond when battling two pandemics at once, especially when it seems like the response to one may interfere with the response to the other? The HIV/AIDS pandemic is now 40 years old. The world has made remarkable progress and continues to work toward ending it within the next decade. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has struck with blinding speed, threatening to reverse that progress.

The webinar explored challenges and hopes, first engaging a proposed strategy that is the product of broad-based reflection launched in September 2019 at the Berkley Center as a challenge to faith communities, and then taking stock of the impact of the COVID-19 emergency. The discussion focused on two issues: Given the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, how should the religious response to HIV change so that progress towards ending the HIV pandemic by 2030 is sustained? What are the most effective strategies for religious communities to battle HIV and COVID-19 at the same time?

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