Navigation Links
A New Year, A New Opportunity: Metropolitan Community Church Leaders Urge Faith Leaders to Address HIV and Crystal Meth Use Among LGBT Youth
Date:12/19/2007

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 1991, Kharma Amos dressed up as a condom to pass out HIV prevention materials in Tulsa, OK.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071219/DC10343-a

http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071219/DC10343-b )

That same year, 16-year-old Joshua Love began volunteering for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and AIDS service organizations in Santa Fe, NM. He wanted to combat homophobia and honor the memory of his Uncle Patrick, who died of AIDS.

Since that time, Amos has traded her condom costume for a clergy collar, Love is studying for ordination -- and they are on a mission. Both are ministers in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), and in the New Year they are determined to spark important dialogue about HIV and crystal meth use in the LGBT community.

To set the stage for that dialogue, Amos and Love recently joined leaders from more than 30 organizations in Northern Virginia for a World AIDS Day 2007 health fair focusing on LGBTs, HIV, and crystal meth.

Public health officials are increasingly worried about the role of crystal meth and its impact on syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. "Meth use is not a new problem," Love says, "but we are living in a time where the intersection of meth and HIV is alarming."

Amos believes the problem is complicated by meth users' devastating lack of self-esteem -- "With crystal meth, for a little while, they can be good enough, or beautiful enough, or loved enough."

That can be a powerful incentive to keep using meth, in spite of the damage it causes. Love asks, "What do you say to someone who tells you, 'I'm not sure I know how to have sex anymore without drugs in my body?' Now we have people with a meth problem, who approach sex through the lens of their drug use.

Love is concerned, however, by the alarmist rhetoric about crystal meth. "It's really important to offer people accurate information, because a stream of dire warnings can make them feel that catastrophe is inevitable and that their day-to-day choices don't make any difference."

Both ministers are troubled by the inability of many support programs to handle the dual issue of drug use and sex. Many LGBTs are also unwilling to talk about those issues and are often unaware of the current impact of HIV/AIDS in their communities.

This worries Love, who is a recovering meth user himself, and who has been HIV+ for 7 years. "The most powerful experience I have is sitting in church and hearing someone say 'I don't know anyone who is HIV+.' I know their churches, so I know that isn't true -- it tells me that people have stopped talking and returned to the closet."

Amos agrees. "The return to the closet is real. None of the current members of my congregation are public about their HIV+ status. They're afraid of being stigmatized even in an inclusive faith community."

Amos sees MCC as uniquely poised to facilitate difficult conversations about sex and drugs. "The church has not traditionally been known as a place where you can honestly share your deepest questions and real-life experiences with sex, disease, or drug use," she says. "But MCC is reversing that trend by bringing these issues out of the closet without judgment or shame."

Amos and Love stress the need for faith communities and other organizations to take action -- especially by offering people the space and support they need to speak out and tell their stories.

Love says, "To create change, we have to learn how to talk and listen differently." At this turning of the New Year, they hope to encourage people to do just that.

Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is the world's largest and oldest Christian denomination with a primary, affirming ministry to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. Known as "The Human Rights Church" for its commitment to social justice, more than 250 local MCC congregations are located in 28 countries around the globe. For more information on MCC's international ministry, visit http://www.MCCchurch.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Metropolitan Community Churches
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Metropolitan Hosts Informational Meetings in Nassau County
2. MedHelp to Add Top Stanford Surgeons and Specialized Forums to Online Health Community
3. Syndicom to Launch Online Community for DePuy Spine
4. Governor Rendell Proclaims Sept. 9-15 as Senior Community Center Week
5. South Texas Doctors Report More Severe Cases of Community Staph Super Bug Hospitalizing Children
6. American Diabetes Association and Goya Foods Inc. Team Up To Support Diabetes Awareness and Outreach in the Latino Community
7. Optim To Assist Prairie Community Health Center with Construction Scope Development
8. Uninsured community health center patients often have difficulty accessing specialty services
9. ASTRO, Wellness Community South Bay Cities Join to Promote Cancer Survivorship
10. Nucletron Announces Management Buy-Out to More Effectively Meet the Demands of Its Customers and the Radiation Therapy Community
11. ProAssurance Group Offers Coverage for Community Based Hospitals in Michigan
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... METTLER TOLEDO has published a new ... basic understanding of the techniques they use so they can more easily spot ... waste and rework to create a leaner overall lab experience. , The ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Two renowned photographers, Robert ... a photographic adventure on the island, June 14-19, 2016, hosted by Four Seasons Resort ... , After a successful debut in 2015, the Maui Photo Expedition workshop ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... G.A. (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... and grout cleaning and sealing company , is proud to announce that many ... their superior levels of customer service. The hard surface restoration franchises received customer ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Shark Finds and Kevin Harrington, and the ... with GRIP-DRY. , GRIP-DRY is a newly patented product that has solved some of the ... the wet and early morning dew or right after a rain shower, might understand the ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... CURE Media Group ... officially launched the Multiple Myeloma Heroes Awards event , which will annually honor ... lives of patients with MM. The MM Heroes Awards nomination process is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... Feb. 9, 2016 The life of Dr. ... has been anything but ordinary.  Twists of fate, combined with ... II and the constraints of communist Czechoslovakia to ... would go on to make history by playing a key ... drugs in the world, Remicade.  Dr. Vilcek brings readers along ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... report "Global Anti-Bacterial Drugs Market Assessment & Forecast: 2015 - 2019" ... North America continued to lead global anti-bacterial ... into revenues worth US$ 16,907.3 million. North ... , Latin America , Middle-East ... market is inclined towards North America and ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016 Alzheimer Diagnostic Tests - Medical ... Medical Devices sector report , "Alzheimer Diagnostic Tests ... overview of Alzheimer Diagnostic Tests currently in pipeline ... the pipeline products with comparative analysis of the ... reviews major players involved in the pipeline product ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: