What is Testing Faith?

Testing Faith is a dynamic, comprehensive programme to help faith leaders support their congregations’ sexual and social health needs, particularly around HIV prevention, treatment and care aimed specifically at black and minority ethnic communities.

Black and minority ethnic groups make up less than 13% of the UK population, but these communities have over 52% of newly diagnosed HIV cases.

This is a serious crisis within our communities, which you, as a faith leader can help us address. Many affected individuals and communities are being let down by a lack of adequate knowledge, empathy and understanding from their faith leaders.

Taking part in this course will help you:

Understand  – Support  – Inform

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Jamaat/Congregation

The difference between HIV and AIDs – Knowing their HIV status – Living healthy, independent lives, even when HIV positive

There is a strong scriptural reason for you as faith leaders to be engaged in supporting your community’s health needs.

The prophet Muhammed [PBUH] said:

A learned person is as much above a worshipper as I am above the least of you. He added: Allah, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth,
even the ants in their hills and the fish in the water,
call down blessings on those who instruct people in beneficial knowledge.
– Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 422

In Ecclesiastes 7:12, the scripture says:

For wisdom [is] a defence, [and] money [is] a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is,
that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

In Muslim tradition, followers of the faith are commanded to co-operate towards goodness,
Qur’an (9:71)
:The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers ,supporters, friends, protectors)
of one another In Bukhari, a book on the sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammed,
the prophet said:
“None of you will have Faith till he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”.

And in The Bible, Mark 12: 31 Christians are commanded:

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Make an Impact

about-topSo far we have trained over 96 faith leaders, and made a powerful impact on how they support their congregation.

But don’t take our word for it – read what they have to say below, and sign up today.

“In my opinion the project shouldn’t be called ‘Testing Faith’ it should be  called  ‘Saving Lives’ because if you look at it in the long run….that’s exactly what it does.” 

“It is very insightful training.”
  
  ”I now feel I’m really equipped and feel confident to go out and speak to people to explain the correct modes of transmission; dispelling the myths’

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Get In Touch Today

Why should I take part?

As a leader your ignorance can mean the difference between life and death for your congregation.
Testing Faithis a course that equips you with the knowledge to handle your congregation’s
sexual health needs confidently,sensitively and knowledgeably.

As a faith leader, you believe that god’s message and god’s
love is for everyone, especially those facing difficult times.

For many people dealing with HIV talking to someone who can help is not easy,
and this where people like you come in; whether you lead a church,
mosque or any other faith community, you have the ability
to make a powerful impact on how HIV positive individuals
in your community cope with HIV, and on how your community treats people with HIV,
especially those from Black and Minority ethnic backgrounds.

For many people when things get difficult,
people turn to their faith leaders for strength and guidance.

Our testing faith programme is designed to help you provide
that support and guidance confidently, safely and compassionately.

Why is Testing Faith Necessary?

Both Christianity and Islam have witnessed growing numbers of the faithful in recent years, and Black, Asian and minority ethnic people make up a large number of this growing population. But they also make up a disproportionate number of people diagnosed with HIV.

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We believe this is a disproportionate number of cases, which must be urgently addressed by helping our communities to take ownership of their health, and supporting faith leaders to talk confidently, safely and compassionately about sexual health.

Testing Faith is a dynamic, comprehensive programme that will help you address the barriers associated with discussing HIV, and help you develop spiritual and pastoral skills to support people with sexual health difficulties.

There has never been a more urgent time for people, particularly leaders in our communities to take ownership of sexual health within the context of faith. Testing Faith is here to help you do that.

1ONS, Census 2011. 2HPA, 2013 National Surveillance Data Tables.

About the Testing Faith Programme

Testing Faith is an HIV prevention programme designed especially for Faith Leaders supporting BAME congregations. The aim of the programme is to promote a better understanding of sexual health in BAME communities.

The course takes place over three months and can be completed around your regular schedule.

part1_smallParticipants attend a mandatory two-day training course that has been developed with the support of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV.

part2_smallerParticipants create a sexual health plan for their congregation that empowers individuals to prioritise their sexual health and access support services independently.

part3_smallParticipants organise an event or refer 10 people to have an HIV test. Participants that have completed all three parts of the course will receive ‘Investors in Congregations Sexual Health’ kite mark and will be invited to attend a certification ceremony at the House of Commons.

You can make a difference

make_a_difference_450An HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, but to lead healthy lives, people living with HIV need support from their communities. Faith leaders have a very special and important place in many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Your confidence and ability to address sexual health issues in the context of faith will help reduce and prevent the transmission of HIV within our communities. At present, not only are over half of all new HIV diagnoses in London from BAME populations, the proportion of people diagnosed late is higher amongst these communities than the general population. This is a situation that we can change with your help and participation. We are recruiting faith leaders from Christian and Muslim African/ Black congregations as part of the national response. As a leader, you have the ability to make a strong impact on how individual members of your congregation cope with HIV and lead healthy and active lives as full members of their community.

We are here to get you started

We are waiting to work with you and change the world.

Start today

Ending Stigmatization

Almost half (47%) of all people diagnosed with HIV in the UK are from Black, Asian and Minority ethnic community, and further 20% are not aware they have been infected. With this statistic it is more than likely that someone in your congregation has HIV – and may not know it.

Despite the challenges of living with HIV – it is better to know your status than not to know it. With early  diagnosis proper support and care, people with HIV can and do lead healthy and full lives.

Many people who have HIV face stigmatization, and live in fear of being rejected by their community.

As a faith leader you are in a powerful position to support a vulnerable person facing difficult challenges. Testing Faith will help you do address their needs confidently.

Will you sign up for this and be the support your vulnerable community members need? When we consider the scriptural basis for being compassionate, it provides a compelling basis for supporting people with HIV. In the Qu’ran we find the injuction that

  end_450“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money for love of Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and who observes Prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfil their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are the God-fearing. (Al Quran 2:178)  

In the Bible, Colossians 3:12-13 reads, Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Testing Faith -Eligibility: Who can attend?

You must be a current Faith Leader i.e. Minister, Imam, Priest, Muller, Deacon, Elder, Women’s / Men’s/ Youth Ministry Leader

You must be able to complete all parts of the course requirements

You must have permission from your board/ leadership team to represent the organization