church hiv*It’s been three decades since HIV and AIDS invaded Chicago’s South Side and surrounded Bray Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Englewood.

But it’s been less than three years since the little church on the corner of 73rd and Greenwood did anything to address the epidemic, says the Chicago Tribune.

That’s when the Rev. Dorothy Williams arrived and made a change. As a female pastor in the black church, she already had confronted plenty of discouragement. But as a crusader who believes the church should work to stop the spread of HIV in the African-American community, she faced straight-up resistance.

With some trepidation, the elders at Bray have embraced her mission. The church offers periodic HIV testing, and some who have tested positive have sought the pastor’s advice on treatment.

The only challenge the congregation can’t seem to surmount is whether to distribute condoms. Williams preaches abstinence. But she’s no dummy. She knows people, including many of her aging and widowed members, are having sex.

“Older people, they find someone and bada boom, the beat goes on,” she said. “A lot of churches are still not open to that ministry. It’s in your face and very personal. It tends to probe into your business. Some of these things people want to keep personal at the cost of hindering people around (them).”

Read more here.