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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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AIDS positive

Indian Lutherans confront the disease many ignore

More than 40 workshops and seminars held since 1993 have targeted church leaders who knew little about the disease. Less than 3 percent of India's population is Christian. "This is a mammoth challenge that we have taken on," says Sheila Shyamprasad who has directed the Lutheran AIDS work for five years. "With God's strength and spirit I feel we will be able to do it."

The idea for a clinic with confidential counseling did come from church people, growing out of the workshops. It's supported by a three-year grant from the Lutheran World Federation of $119,200, including $20,000 from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Like Priya, most clients come because of a new HIV or AIDS diagnosis. "They want help in coping with their infection," Shyamprasad says, "and they want to talk about their personal and social problems as well. Some of the partners are negative, and they need more support than the positives."


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