Interfaith Service Marks World AIDS Day

November 30, 2007

Author: Nathan Eagle

Source: Kauai Garden Island News

Kaua‘i religious leaders united on the eve of World AIDS Day to commemorate those who suffer from the human immunodeficiency virus or have died from the pandemic disease it causes.

The Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist service yesterday at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Lihu‘e marked an island first, said Malama Pono Kaua‘i AIDS Project Executive Director D.Q. Jackson, who organized the event with Kaua‘i YWCA Executive Director Rena’e Hamilton.

Although at least 33 million people suffer from HIV/AIDS worldwide, Jackson said only two cases from the Garden Isle were reported last year.

“It is now profoundly rare for someone to contract AIDS on Kaua‘i because we are intervening,” he said.

Malama Pono, a 20-year-old nonprofit operating on state Health Department contracts, has four prevention specialists in the field here virtually every day to stop the spread of AIDS through educational outreach.

Since 1986, 128 people have contracted the disease on Kaua‘i, representing 4 percent of total cases statewide.