African American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention (AAFCAP)
The African American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention (AAFCAP) began in 2000 with a group of clergy in the Oklahoma City area to address the rise of new HIV infections among African Americans. With a mission of PRAYER – People Reaching to AIDS while Yearning for Education and Restoration, AAFCAP established collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Health – HIV/STD Service. The collaboration resulted in the development of an intensive six-week training program specifically for pastors. The training includes the following:
Orientation – This session acquaints the participants with goals, objectives and expectations of the training.
HIV 101 – This session discusses what HIV is and how it is transmitted, methods of prevention, dispelled myths, methods of testing, confidentiality issues, and the role and effects of other STDs on the transmission of HIV disease.
Dialog with an infected client – This session is a candid discussion about HIV with an HIV positive client. The client discussed the obstacles, treatment regiment, and the importance of a support system.
Dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues – This session focuses on the devastating relationship of drugs and alcohol and the psychosocial effects on an HIV positive client and family.
Resources – This session highlights agencies/organizations in the Oklahoma City area providing prevention, medical treatment and care, and supportive services to African Americans. Participants were provided specific information on various referral sources. The session also demonstrated methods utilized to ensure HIV positive clients know how to access services. It is the Pastors responsibility to "intercede" when a person experiences emotional, physical, or spiritual pain. It is at these times that people are most vulnerable. But, as a person of faith, a Pastor has an authority that can have a positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit. People with life threatening illnesses, whether it is heart disease, cancer, or HIV/AIDS want and need a message of hope. There could be persons in your congregation that are infected or affected with HIV/AIDS. You can create a safe, non-judgmental environment that allows them to disclose, without fear of being stigmatized or ostracized. Incorporating HIV/AIDS into your church's ministry is needed now more than ever.