“AIDS doesn’t ask if you’re gay or straight, black or white, male or female, young or old. AIDS only asks if you’re human,” says Steve Savage, founder of Oasis HIV/AIDS Life .
Oasis reaches out to victims of HIV/AIDS here in South Florida, across the country and around the world. The Life will co-host a 5K Outreach run/walk on Dec. 5 at 8 a.m. at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale with Calvary Christian Academy. The goal is to raise money and awareness and to impact the souls living at the All Saints AIDS Camp located in Nassau, Bahamas.
Like a modern-day leper colony, All Saints is home to people infected with HIV/AIDS who have found no other place to turn for shelter or care. Most Americans think HIV/AIDS is a distant threat on an untamed continent, but not even Paradise Island is free from the disease.
Savage posed the question, “Why should the Church be concerned about AIDS rather than any other disease?”
The Church should be concerned because of the stigma, he said.
“Pastors can save more lives than a doctor when it comes to HIV prevention,” continued Savage.
“Most people don’t lose their jobs because they are diagnosed with cancer. No one gets a divorce because he has malaria, and no one will refuse to take care of your children after you die of a heart attack. But all this and more is possible when diagnosed with AIDS. The stigma is huge around the world and even here in the United States.”
According to “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis,” “an estimated 3 million people die each year from AIDS, a death toll that has been compared to 20 fully loaded 747’s crashing every single day for a year.”
More than 16 million people have died from AIDS since the 1980s, 60 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Not since the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages has there been as devastating a disease. During the Clinton administration, AIDS was declared a threat to national security. A full 25 percent of southern Africa’s population is likely to die from the disease.
This could be exceeded elsewhere if current trends in Asia and Russia continue. AIDS has left about 9 million children without mothers or both parents, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
In some African wars the HIV/AIDS virus is used as a weapon. Criminal combatants – hosts of the HIV/AIDS virus – purposefully and brutally infect female victims in villages they attack.
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, says, “Years from now, the AIDS pandemic will be judged as one of those rare crossroads in human history, where everything that comes after it will be seen through its lens.”
“Jesus devoted one-third of His Life to health care,” says Savage. “What would Jesus do? The Gospels tell us over 100 times that Jesus healed.”
There is a $25 entry fee for the 5K run, and runners are encouraged to get sponsors to raise additional funds.
Those who wish to donate more than the entry fee or those who are unable to make it to the event can still participate by making an online donation.
For more information about the event or other services offered by Oasis, visit their website at www.OasisHIVAIDS.org or call 954-556-4517.