God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Young adults born with HIV and parenthood challenges

As children born with HIV age into adulthood, they need guidance facing the additional challenges the virus poses if they consider becoming a parent. Especially in Southern Africa, where a whole generation of HIV positive want-t0-be-parents are growing up it is from utmost importance to face the upcoming problems and challenges. It’s not only about sexual encounters but responsible parenthood and dealing with the still existing stigma of being a HIV positive parent. Researchers at Royal Holloway University and St. Mary’s Hospital, London published their findings about this subject in the journal AIDS Care. I guess more should be done on this topic and I urge especially the churches to take on this topic – as a serious challenge for the parents, but also for the way, churches see sexuality and what goes with it. There is a common learning curve visible and is awaiting that we take the challenge.

Here you can find a brief resume of the write-up on the website of the Royal Holloway University in London / Great Britain. Click here.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

1.7 million

Death

Death (Photo credit: tanakawho)

The UN report on the situation of HIV and AIDS counts 1.7 million people who have died in 2012 as the result of the pandemic. We hear this figures especially on World AIDS Day and as the number is so big, emotions are normally quiet under control. Being in the situation of having just lost my dad I suddenly realize – not for the first time, but very powerful – what it means, this statistical figure: 1.7 million times a personal tragedy – most times the suffering of having lost somebody very close, very much-loved, surely in those cases very often young people or breadwinner of the family.
When death hits home – statistics suddenly transform into real life stories and every count becomes an emotional story of love and desperation, of the feeling of loss leaving behind those mourning and having to say farewell often to early in life.

Knowing, that early intervention of the Reagan administration would have saved millions of such tragedies show how devastating politics can be towards the individual lives, even thousands of miles away and for decades. And knowing, that Ronald Reagan refused to act because of his religious believe that gay people are not worth the effort shows that even in modern history faith and religion play a vital role in decisions made about life and death of people.

And this story continuous when countries scale down their contribution to the Global AIDS fund, when money for research is scrapped as the economic situation is driven by only financial gain maximization – when wars, weapon trade and the art of killing people is for most countries more important than saving lives. The story continues when religion still contributes to the hate and discrimination and persecution of those living a different lifestyle as the mainstream society.

Advent is time of preparation and reflection for those calling themselves Christians – and maybe it is time to have a hard look at how our action contributes to the well-being of all people not excluding anybody from the unconditional love of God, whom we expect to be born again on Christmas eve. And the higher somebody is in the hierarchy of the church or the political system of a country responsibility grows to act accordingly.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AIDS as disturbance of creation?

English: Freddie Mercury in New Haven, CT at a...

 Mercury in New Haven, CT at a WPLR Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relaxing a bit after the Berlin Gala, I watch with interest a TV production about 40 years of the rock band “Queen”. Central to the story is obviously the life and death of Freddie Mercury – singer and song writer of the band.  The life of a genius musician cut short through the HI virus. And there is the sudden realization, how much HIV and AIDS has robbed human mankind of the development of art and culture. As St. Paul writes about creation still ongoing, there is surely to consider that HIV might have disturbed creation in cutting down the potential in human beings to become in a lifetime what they were supposed to be. Or is the HIV pandemic part of creation, part of it laying still in labor?
As God and creation are connected, it makes more sense to talk about the body of Christ having AIDS, being in pain and suffering. And even if in Europe HIV is not that much connected to suffering, death and dying any more – worldwide millions of lives are cut short by this virus. The suffering, the stigma, the discrimination continues despite all successes in treatment. And theological, there is still so much more to learn and develop and put into our teaching than we have done before. The climate within my church has changed – at least it is allowed again to think without fear – it would be great to use this time of spring to see, what else HIV and AIDS can tell our theology.

 

 

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dresden – Berlin – Munich

HOPE Gala05The HOPE Gala Dresden is history – and I am still grateful to all and everybody who made this event a success. Various meetings and encounters showed me how deep HOPE Cape Town’s work is meanwhile rooted in the heart of Dresden. It’s a blessing!
With those blessings I arrived in Berlin to meet more people and attend the “Festliche Aids-Gala” of the German AIDS Foundation, one of our main partners in Germany. Only being a guest can be a relief at times, but still such big events are always good for networking and exchange of ideas. Attending such events are more than occasions for small talk, they are opportunities to plant the seed of empathy and knowledge into the hearts of others and to share life across the borders.I find it amazing that in Dresden as well as Berlin the church is not prominently present at such events – it is a question of guessing: is it still the inconvenience of the topic which prevents those higher the hierarchy to attend such events. Or is it accidental that since years exactly the eve of such an event is blocked by another commitment. Just asking…  🙂
Well, let’s hope that the “Francis” effect might change that in the years to come.
I just see that the Vatican has asked the bishops to give even the parish councils the opportunity to comment on topics of family and sexuality which will be the main focus of a synod of bishops in 2014. I am really thrilled to see, that the acknowledgement is visible to ask the whole family of god, and not only those higher up the hierarchy to voice their concerns, joys and troubles. It feels like fresh air – open windows – the vision of Johannes XXIII seems to become realization, touchable for those called the laity within our church.
Another blessing on the way which vitalizes all efforts to change the plight of the people less fortune than most of us are.
Munich will be the last German city to visit before flying to New York City.  No big events but a handful of important meetings with people who carry HOPE Cape Town in their hearts and often on their lips being the best ambassadors for our cause.

 

 

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Gala in Dresden and much more

Time again to pack and leave Cape Town for the annual event of the HOPE Gala in Dresden. And this year, it is indeed a special year, where the people of this lovely city pulled together for the Gala after having the devastating floods in spring and battling themselves to get back with their own life. It is with appreciation to note, that despite all the odds the Gala will be once again a festival of good thoughts, helpful hands and lots of fun and joy.
If you have not yet purchased your ticket – the website http://www.hopegala.de will bring you closer to join the event and meet with like-minded people. See you there – Viola Klein has surely with her team and the support of Saxonia Systems (who initiated the Gala), the HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung ( our German trust and the organizers) and all other sponsors (check the logos on the gala website) drawn a full house with the program and not to forget the after-show party. Thank you so much! How much work is going in such an event…

Before the HOPE Gala Dresden I will meet with students from my hometown of Bitburg and engage with them in a lively discussion about HIV and AIDS and what brings South Africa and Bitburg together. It is amazing how much support has come and is still coming from my hometown and I could not be more grateful about it. Another blessing for those, living with the virus here in South Africa.

Berlin and Munich are the other big cities to meet and greet sponsors, supporters and to attend the Festliche AIDS Gala of the German AIDS Foundation. They are such a strong partner for HOPE Cape Town and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. Another big thank you all working for this foundation.

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the last stations of this trip – a renewed effort to get fundraising in the USA going. It is a tough one, but never give up is here the motto and with some goodwill we will be able to plant some small seeds of compassion on the other side of the ocean. Press your thumbs and if you know somebody in that area to approach – please let me know. I am delighted to meet new people.

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
8 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

Blog Categories

Block Entries Calender

October 2018
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Stefan Hippler Twitter Account

  • RT @iasociety: Patients with #HIV are more likely to have tuberculosis drug-related adverse events, hospital re-admissions, and longer trea… - 5 hours ago

You can share this blog in many ways..

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,018 other followers

Translation – Deutsch? Française? Espanol? …

The translation button is located on each single blog page, Copy the text, click the button and paste it for instant translation:
Website Translation Widget

or for the translation of the front page:

* Click for Translation

Copyright

© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This not withstanding the following applies:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

%d bloggers like this: