To the first edition of the Adventist -
HIV-AIDS International Ministry (AAIM) On-line NEWSLETTER
Johannesburg, South Africa - April 2004
This means of communication
is aimed to share the latest news on HIV-AIDS within the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in Africa, and to pass on valuable information about
projects and other initiatives that could eventually be multiplied in
other fields. This will also help our church leadership, HIV-AIDS field
commissions, SDA institutions and organizations, and church members to
keep updated on the developments of the SDA fight against this pandemic.
The AAIM Team is willing to
publish in this newsletter any initiatives and interventions from the
Seventh-day Adventist Church related with the battle against HIV-AIDS in
Africa. We will appreciate your contributions to enrich this
publication. This first edition includes the last quarter of 2003 and
the first quarter of 2004. We apologize for the length of this message.
The format of future editions will be shorter, comprising of one quarter
at a time. We welcome your comments to help us improve this Newsletter.
Hoping that this Newsletter
will become a useful tool for your ministry, we pray that the Lord will
bless any initiative and action in favor of the People Living With
HIV-AIDS (PLWHA), and also the millions of people affected by this
Following the example of
Jesus-Christ, we pray that through the HIV-AIDS Ministry, PLWHA will
find the wholeness of healing, comfort, and hope.
Dr. Oscar A.
Giordano, MD., MPH
AAIM - Executive
Workshop in Nairobi - Kenya
Adventist church representatives from the East-Central Africa Division (ECD)
and the General Conference met in Nairobi from
November 10-13, 2004, to
attend the sessions
of the first HIV-AIDS Workshop in this Division organized by GC-AHM,
ECD-AHM, ADRA, POLICY Project/ Kenya, and USAID/Kenya. It was a very
successful program which contributed to a better understanding of the
problem and the many possibilities for interventions from SDA churches
and organizations. Conferences and workshops considered the most
important HIV-AIDS issues; identifying the problems and proposing short
and long term solutions. The president of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, Pastor Jan Paulsen, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Kari Paulsen
were among the participants endorsing with their presence the attention
that the Seventh-day Adventist Church gives to this pandemic which is
taking many lives inside and outside the church.
Following the workshop, Dr. Lester Wright and Dr. Oscar Giordano were
invited to address a large number of people at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, on
Sabbath November 15. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness on
HIV-AIDS issues and to emphasize the participation of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in the fight against this disease.
Projects in the Indian Ocean (November 2003)
Progress has been achieved in the implementation of HIV-AIDS projects in
Madagascar. An important project of $40,000 financed by the Government
of Madagascar has been implemented by the SDA Women’s Ministry
Department of the Indian Ocean Union Mission. The HIV-AIDS Union
Commission has also participated in preliminary meetings. Through this
project, 107 women and 76 SDA district pastors from around the country
were trained to deliver a message of education and prevention on
HIV-AIDS through the Adventist churches located throughout the country.
During this program 54,000 people have been sensitized to HIV-AIDS and
In preparation of this and other projects AAIM and ADRA/Madagascar
previously organized a Workshop and a HIV-AIDS Health Fair at the
Adventist Health System Headquarters in Antananarivo on June 15, 2003.
Several Union Department Directors and members of the HIV-AIDS Union
Commission participated under the coordination of Dr. Oscar Giordano (AAIM
Director) and Mr. Sony Rasoanindrainy (HIV-AIDS Projects Consultant &
The Adventist Church in Swaziland goes public on HIV-AIDS (December
The Adventist Church in Swaziland went public on HIV-AIDS issues during
the “Behavior & Lifestyle Change Summit” program organized for the AIDS
International Day on Sabbath November 29, 2003 in the Bosco Skill Centre
This event was organized by the officers of the SDA Swaziland
field, together with Dr. Jun Negre (SW-AHM Director) and Pr. Tankiso
Letseli (SAU AHM Director). Dr. Oscar Giordano gave two presentations on
STIs/HIV-AIDS & Lifestyle which was followed by a panel of experts on
HIV-AIDS. The public (Adventists and non-Adventists) had the opportunity
to ask questions during the open forum, and to participate in the
program. There was a drama presentation and singing groups. Swaziland is
among the countries with the highest HIV prevalence in the world with 34
to 38% of its population HIV+.
Becomes Operational (January 5, 2004)
The Adventist –
HIV-AIDS International Ministry Africa Office (AAIM) opened at the
beginning of 2004. The office is located in Randburg in the
North-Western part of Johannesburg, South Africa.
This office has been
organized to serve the three African Divisions of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church regarding HIV-AIDS and related issues. The members of
the team are Dr. Oscar A. Giordano, MD., MPH. (AAIM Executive Director),
Dr. Eugenia Giordano MD., MPH. (AAIM Associate Director), Mr. Alain
Ikito, MBA (Accountant/Secretary), and Miss Angeles Giordano (Student
Missionary). Previous to the office opening, this team worked in the
preparation of several projects which are in the implementation process.
It is our hope and prayer that this office will be of help to all the
SDA African fields in their strategies and interventions to alleviate
the suffering of those touched by the HIV-AIDS pandemic as well as to
help prevent this disease.
Indian Ocean Women’s Ministries HIV-AIDS Project Completed! (January
The project “HIV-AIDS
Education and Awareness through Women’s Ministries” has been completed
with excellent results which exceeded everyone’s expectations.
Congratulations to the IOUM-Women’s Ministries Team!
AAIM Director, Dr.
Oscar Giordano, participated in the closing session where he presented
the subject, “The Importance of Women’s Participation in Fighting
HIV-AIDS,” and participated in the closing/evaluation session of the
project. This session took place in Antananarivo on January 19, 2004.
Other projects are currently being prepared for the Indian Ocean Union
in the areas of education, testing, and prevention of mother to child
transmission. The Minister of Health of Madagascar has welcomed these
initiatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has authorized
Series of Audiovisual Presentations on HIV-AIDS (January 2004)
AAIM has been invited
to do audiovisual presentations on HIV-AIDS Education and Awareness for
the American Embassy, American Cultural Center, and USAID personnel. The
American Embassy in Madagascar has sponsored the HIV-AIDS Health Fair
organized by AAIM in August, 2003. As a result of this program, the
American Embassy has contributed $3,800 to the advancement of the
Adventist medical work in Madagascar. These presentations are taking
place monthly from January to April, 2004. A team from the Indian Ocean
Adventist Health System is in charge of the presentations with materials
provided by the AAIM office in Johannesburg. We hope that this
experience will be reproduced in other countries.
Tri-Divisional HIV-AIDS Advisory in Johannesburg (February 2004)
In February, 2004, the
three Division's Health Ministries Directors together with the AAIM
Directors met in Johannesburg to discuss future strategies for this
office. It was a very successful meeting which gave the opportunity for
the participants to interact in sharing ideas and plans to organize
HIV-AIDS coordinated actions throughout the continent of Africa. Dr.
Fesaha Tsegaye (ECD - AHM Director), Dr. Alex Llaguno (SID - AHM
Director), Dr. George Sanz (WAD - AHM Director), Dr. Oscar Giordano (AAIM
Director), Dr. Eugenia Giordano (AAIM Associate Director – by
teleconference), and Miss Angeles Giordano (student
missionary), participated in this exercise which included: 1) sessions
of strategic planning, 2) projects- review and planning, 3) sharing of
information from the different fields (itineraries, meetings, etc.), 4)
listing of known SDA/HIV-AIDS projects in the continent, and 5)
communications with the fields. It was a special opportunity for AAIM to
interact with all the Division Health Directors.
These meetings will facilitate a better coordinated work between this
office and the three division territories.
“Sexuality Curriculum Framework” French translation
Curriculum Framework” was prepared by the General Conference Family Life
Department (GC-FL) under the direction of Ron and Karen Flowers. AAIM
was commissioned to translate the material in French which was completed
and submitted for editing at the GC-FL in October, 2003. We are very
glad to have received the edited version. This material on human
sexuality will be used to instruct children and adolescents from
pre-school, primary and secondary-school levels. It is very important
that SDA Schools and Churches provide correct information on human
sexuality, as well as help parents to deliver the right message on this
subject according to God’s plan of creation. The time has arrived for
issues on human sexuality not to constitute a taboo in our church
anymore. Misinformation from the world will otherwise mislead our
children and our youth. This material is now available in English and
French to cover the majority of the Sub-Saharan African countries.
participates at the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) Health Advisory
(February / March2004)
Survey of HIV-AIDS activities in WAD
AAIM was among the
participants of the WAD Health Advisory held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast,
from the 2nd to 6th of March, 2004, under the
direction of Dr. George Sanz. WAD officers and several Adventist Health
Ministries (AHM) directors, from unions representing most of the
countries of this division, participated in the program. The General
Conference AHM Department was represented by Pastor Stoy Proctor and Dr.
Kathleen Kuntaraf. It was an excellent advisory which has given a unique
opportunity for AAIM to interact with the AHM directors. It also allowed
sharing information and discussing future actions in favor of the
HIV-AIDS Ministry of our church in the WAD territory. Dr. Oscar Giordano
conducted a survey of HIV-AIDS activities in WAD, and participated in
the program through audiovisual presentations and meeting with several
participants. We appreciated very much the organization of this program
and pray that it will produce abundant results for the advancement of
the health message in the Division; particularly the message of HIV-AIDS
education, awareness, and assistance. Let us remember that in the WAD
territory there are more than 7,000,000 PLWHA. The HIV prevalence is
currently increasing in most of the countries of this Division.
Valley View Adventist University (March 2004)
Following the meetings
in Abidjan, AAIM visited Valley View Adventist University in Ghana (VVU)
from the 7th to 11th of March, 2004. During this
visit we had the opportunity to address the officers and staff of VVU on
important Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and particularly
HIV-AIDS issues. The University Curriculum on HIV-AIDS prepared by Loma
Linda University Professors H. Elder and J. Lewis, was presented for
consideration at Valley View University with the intention of
incorporating this knowledge to the regular courses given at this
institution. In this manner, each of the students at the University will
be well informed and will become an agent for peer education and
counseling on HIV-AIDS matters in their respective communities and
working places. Dr. Daniel Opoky-Boateng, University Acting President
said, “The timing of this visit could not have been better, the timing
of God is perfect because the University will receive, in April, a new
staff member who will be dedicated to Public Health issues and this
material will certainly help him to develop a curriculum on HIV-AIDS.”
Up to date information
was shared with the student body in two separate meetings; one for
female and the other for male students. These meetings gave the
opportunity to talk freely about delicate issues, and answer students’
questions. A survey on HIV-AIDS knowledge of transmission and prevention
and sexual behavior was conducted with 200 participants. A session of
Interdisciplinary Forum allowed AAIM to interact with a large group of
students answering their questions about future HIV-AIDS plans in the
university. We greatly appreciated the warm welcome and hard work from
VVU’s students, faculty and staff.
HIV-AIDS activities at the Ghana Union Health Advisory and SDA Churches
Advent Press Accra
After the visit to VVU,
AAIM participated in the Ghana Union Health Advisory with the presence
of the Ghana Union officers, field presidents, and the AHM field
directors. The meetings took place in the city of Kumazi. Dr. Oscar
Giordano made presentations to share information and raise awareness on
STIs and HIV-AIDS. The interaction with the Church Leadership in Ghana
was very positive, and the creation of an HIV-AIDS Commission at the
Ghana SDA Medical Services level will greatly contribute in the
management of HIV-AIDS issues in the several medical institutions
belonging to the Ghana Union.
HIV-AIDS were given for the first time to two of the most important
churches in Ghana; “Prince Emmanuel,” in Accra, and “Amakam SDA Church”
in Kumazi. Also for the first time, important issues on human sexuality
and sexually transmitted diseases were discussed with these two
congregations. Several pastors and Adventist health professionals
present among the audience expressed their satisfaction for sharing with
the church members issues that were never openly discussed in the church
before. Denial and silence are common denominators in most of the SDA
churches in Africa. An urgent attitude change is necessary in order to
accept and treat with dignity and respect the PLWHA, as well as to keep
informed and updated all the members, and particularly to protect our
We had the opportunity
to visit the Advent Press in Accra in order to obtain information and
obtain an estimate to print the “Sexuality Curriculum Framework” in
English and French for the WAD countries.
Projects in the Indian Ocean (March 2004)
This past March, the
HIV-AIDS series of presentations in collaboration with the American
Embassy in Madagascar continued, and an invitation to organize voluntary
counseling and testing for the American community and workers in
Madagascar was presented to AAIM. We expect to raise funds through this
type of interventions. A meeting with the Union Education director, Mr.
F. Razafindrakoto, was held in order to continue organizing the
implementation of the “Sexuality Curriculum Framework” in all the
primary and secondary schools of this Union. The preliminary version in
French was presented at this meeting as well. Another meeting was held
with Mr. Sony Rasoanindrainy (HIV-AIDS Projects Consultant) for the
implementation of the Project of Prevention of Mother to Child
Transmission of HIV (PMCT). Preliminary contacts were made with Andapa
SDA Hospital, where we hope to start this project soon, with the
possibility of increasing the interventions in the northern part of
Madagascar, according to the Ministry of Health PMCT Medical Director’s
Empowerment Seminar - Training on HIV-AIDS Pastoral Counseling
A Seminar on “Women
Empowerment and HIV-AIDS” was conducted by Dr. Eugenia Giordano in
Mauritius. A large audience representing several districts of the
Mauritius Conference (FEAM) attended the program. A presentation on
sexuality education for children was part of the program.
A seminar on “STIs &
HIV-AIDS Pastoral Counseling” was conducted by Dr. Oscar A. Giordano.
The Officers of the Conference, together with a group of Pastors and
Elders attended the Seminar.
A newly organized
HIV-AIDS Commission at this Conference level is a result of this and
previous meetings. We appreciated the support of the officers and staff
of this Conference. Pastor Samuel Ravonjiarivelo, President FEAM,
expressed a positive reception for the training of Pastors and committed
himself to sustain the HIV-AIDS Commission. We thank Mrs. Francoise Bru
(AHM Director) for the planning and coordination of this program.