HIV/ AIDS and the Ministry : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I am a pastor in the Fifteenth Episcopal District, Namibia Annual Conference. I retired recently from a course on ageing in Africa, where the issue of HIV/ AIDS was discussed quiet extensively. At our Planning Meeting of the Conference Executive, issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS were raised.

One issue that struck me was the risk pastors undertake in administering the holy communion. I also had a similar problem when I was called out to our largets State Hospital facility to administer holy communion to a victim of Aids. This person was not HIV positive, she had full blown AIDS. And as I came near here I realized that these were the last stages of AIDS.

However I could not do otherwise since this person requested through the family that arrangements be made for her to partake in communion before "going home".

The situation was such that blood was oozing from the wounds on the body as well as lips and mouth, though not in large quantities the evidences were there. My question at this tage was would I offend the person and the family if I go out and ask gloves from the medical personnel. Well, in the end I administered without gloves and the like, however, the first thing after I arrived home I took my set and sterilized it. My question to you is, has the AME Church ever debate on this issue and what is the position of the church in the other Districts and Conferences.

The entire issue makes the Ministry very risky since you as a Minister during that process may compromised your health status and adversely jeapordise your entire family stucture. I am challenging my good friens like Bill, senator Santucci, Denise, Alton etc.

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2002


Rev. Biwa it is always a joy to hear from you for your love of Christ shines through the internet. When the aids epedemic first broke out in New York City I was an Aids Chaplain. So this is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. Whenever we are dealing with anyone who is oozing with blood. We SHOULD BE WEARING GLOVES! Particularly someone that we know has Aids. It is not offensive to wear disposable gloves. The person is probably use to doctors, nurses, and lab technicians wearing gloves. It is a precaution for you and the person. Remember someone with Aids has an immune system that is impaired and the last thing they need is for us to give them are cold germs etc. PLEASE USE DISPOSABLE CUPS, if you do not have any contact your bishop or be creative. I would also suggest you contact the Red Cross or the health agency in your area to give a course on Hiv and Aids precautions. This course would be invaluable for all the pastors in your area. We must treat all people with the love of Christ and not be afraid. Whenever I visit someone in the hospital for any reason I check with their nurse first, I let them know I am the pastor and is there anything I should be aware of. For example if the person has just gotten back from a proceedure they may still be under the influence of an anesthic this will determine how much time I spend with them. We all should wash our hands thoroughly with soap. One last thing we do know that the Aids virus is transmitted through body fluids and blood. And there is a small possibility that blood could be found in the saliva. Dentists in the US are wearing gloves and masks because of the finding. So DO USE CUPS THAT CAN BE THROWN AWAY and dispose of the cups properly. Again ask your health officials on how to do this. One last thing when removing disposable gloves there is a way to do it so that you do not contaminate your hands. A nurse will be more than happy to demonstrate. Keep up your good work and God will bless you.

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2002

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