Friday, May 30, 2008

Partners in Caring - Kevin's first blog

Well, this is my first venture into the world of blogging. I'm Kevin Todd and am an M.Div student entering into my final round at DDS. This summer I’ve received a placement at an agency called Partners in Caring. Here’s a brief description of the organization taken from its webpage:
Partners In Caring (PIC) is a grant-funded component of the Duke University Medical Center Pastoral Services Department and the Duke University AIDS Research and Treatment Center (DART). It was initiated to bring an end to the personal and spiritual isolation experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), their families, and their friends, particularly in rural North Carolina.

Partners in Caring has a variety of programs through which it serves those living with HIV/AIDS. If you’d like to check out some more information about Partners and Caring and its programs see www.dukehealth.org/Services/partners_in_caring.

My first week at PIC I was glad to find out that I had some time to read up on HIV/AIDS. Artie, my supervisor, provided a few quality resources that helped me establish a foundational understanding of the disease and some of its social factors and statistics. Some of the statistics are pretty staggering:

North Carolina stats
Statewide: Since 1983 there have been 32,582 reported cases of HIV/AIDS in North Carolina. Currently there are 21,593 known cases of people living with HIV/AIDS in NC.*
Durham: Durham is listed as having the fifth highest amount of HIV disease cases out of all the counties in NC; there are 1,240 people that are known to be living with HIV/AIDS in Durham county.* (These and other stats can be found at: www.ncpublichealth.com)

*Note that these are known cases; estimated figures account for the fact that around 25% of people living with HIV/AIDS do not know they are infected. (www.cdc.gov/hiv)

US stats:
At the end of 2003 there was an estimate of 1 to over 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS. And as of 2006, the cumulative estimated number of deaths of people with AIDS in the US was 565,927. (www.cdc.gov/hiv)

International stats:
At the end of 2007, it was estimated by UNAIDS that there were 33.2 million people infected with HIV worldwide. On a global scale, everyday almost 6800 people are infected with HIV and nearly 5700 die from HIV related illnesses. (More global statistics and information can be found at www.UNAIDs.org)

It is quite evident that there is a great need in the area of HIV/AIDS; it is a need that calls us to work toward treatment and prevention, and it cries out to us to respond with compassion, genuine care, and solidarity. Unfortunately it seems that many parts of the Body of Christ have tended to turn the opposite way, responding in ignorant judgment, anti-hospitality, and perhaps the most damaging and pervasive response…silence.

This past week we had a joint commissioning service with the interns and residents from the pastoral services department. Part of the litany with which I was commissioned said:
We wish to affirm and bless your call to serve as an intern in the wider community with those deeply impacted by HIV, STD's and substance abuse. You have been chosen to offer pastoral care and other worthy services with those who face discrimination and isolation because of the stigma of their conditions. You are commissioned today to live the words of the Christian Testament, "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."

I hope and pray that my time with Partners in Caring will give me the opportunity to learn how to respond to the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS and others like it, primarily as it will open my eyes to see those whom we tend to look past and to hear the ones we often ignore. May God grant me grace to look and listen. And I hope that the availability, openness, and obedience of “Here I am”—that phrase often heard in response to God’s voice in the OT—will be evident and true of my posture this summer.

1 comment:

Tutorialoutlet said...

Good work…unique site and interesting too… Thanks
PAD 500 Entire Course