PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The city’s faith community came together with the AIDS services organization Philadelphia FIGHT on World AIDS Day.
They talked about how far we’ve come since the 1980s when, sadly, HIV/AIDS amounted to a death sentence.
Bishop Audrey Bronson, founding Pastor of Sanctuary Church of the Open Door, has been an advocate since the earliest days of the epidemic.
“I don’t care what status we are, what we have and don’t have. We need each other. Somebody had to do it, and Philadelphia FIGHT took up the challenge,” she said.
Bishop Chris Kimmenez is National Support Services Director at Healing Communities, a faith-based re-entry network. This work is personal to him. He has been living with HIV since 1989.
“A very long time ago, Philadelphia FIGHT saved my life. It’s kept my wife negative, and it’s allowed us to have two more children who are not HIV positive,” he said.
He recalls that, originally, there was nothing available, then medication came to market to treat HIV, and he’s gone from 40 daily pills to one-a-day.
Now, he says, a cure is within grasp.
During the event, gospel singers and choirs belted out musical selections, greeted with raised hands and amens.
Many near the performers threw napkins onto the stage to show their appreciation, since there were no bouquets of flowers within reach.