Churches help education on 'World AIDS Day' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Churches help education on 'World AIDS Day'

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NASHUA (KWWL) -

Sunday is 'World AIDS Day.' In 1988 the World Health Organization created this day in order to promote social tolerance and greater awareness of HIV and AIDS.

In Iowa, 2,327 people have been diagnosed with HIV.

In Black Hawk County roughly 67 out of 100,000 people are living with HIV.

Since 'World AIDS Day' landed on a Sunday, some churches are using their message to help spread HIV and AIDS awareness.

Rev. Jessica Margrave-Schirm's message at St. John's United Church of Christ near Nashua was a little different than most Sundays.

"The denomination as a whole, the United Church of Christ, has challenged each of our congregations to be active agents of change in the world regarding HIV and AIDS education," said Margrave-Schirm.

A video message, verbal message, and a 'World AIDS Day' handout was included Sunday.

Because, even in this small country church there may be someone affected by HIV or AIDS.

"August 23rd 1993 is when I was diagnosed. So this year was my 20th anniversary," said Tami Haught.

Haught contracted the HIV virus from her late husband, Rodger. Rodger was given a bad blood transfusion after he was in a car accident.

Tami says she credits her faith with helping her fight HIV, but she says one of the biggest obstacles when she was diagnosed was for her to reconcile with god.

"Growing up in the 80's and graduating in '86 the first image of HIV, AIDS that I still carry with me is the protesters sign saying God cures gays with AIDS," said Haught.

Haught says it's important to spread HIV and AIDS awareness. That's why she appreciates her church for not only accepting her, but helping educate.

"I hope today that people were able to realize that there's things they can do personally whether it's just loving their neighbor as themselves," said Margrave-Schirm. 

One in five people with HIV don't even know it. The Linn County Public Health Department is offering free testing. That will happen Wednesday.

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