HIV/AIDS: What Would Jesus Do?

How would Jesus respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic?  This is a good experiment in reflection as we approach World AIDS Day on December 1.  Based on his actions in the Bible, I’m inclined to say that Jesus would be right in the midst of the pandemic — comforting those affected by AIDS, fighting to keep others from contracting HIV, and, in general, making himself a nuisance to politicians who aren’t moving fast enough to rid the world of this disease.  When you read the Bible, you see that Jesus was constantly looking out for the lowest of the low in his society.  He was there curing the lepers and respecting the prostitutes.  Sadly, people living with HIV are all too often treated like lepers and scorned like prostitutes.  With my belief and understanding of Christianity, I can’t be a Christian and not respond to this ever-growing pandemic.

Every week, I teach the youth group in my Sunday School.  In my class we talk about sex, drugs, and rock and roll (well, more like hip-hop) and I am sure that these words would strike fear in the heart of any conservative God-fearing man.  But as a 22-year old queer Christian with tattoos and piercings, I try not to preach down to my students about what they should or shouldn’t do. Rather, I try to meet them where they are — respecting their priorities and choices and providing as much factual information as I can to help them make responsible decisions.

I think Jesus would have told young people that the only 100 percent effective method of preventing HIV is choosing not to have sex.  But I also believe he would have thought it unethical and hypocritical to withhold important life-saving information about condoms in the era of AIDS.

In reality, people are sexual beings and many (more than 95 percent) will have sex before they are married.  This is why I don’t teach only abstinence to my teens.  I know that many will have sex if they believe they are ready and they want to.  So, instead of telling them that they’re evil for being sexual beings, I try to give them the right information about safer sexual practices.  The Bible also teaches us that sexuality is a gift. I believe that. And while some abstinence-only proponents use God and fear to shame young people, I believe that our job as people of faith is to provide young people with the best of both worlds. Faith, values, and information — then, they can make their own informed decisions about both their sexuality and their faith.

The cornerstone of Christianity is to help those around you — in your neighborhood, your city, your country, and your world.  When you see a person in need, you reach out and help, without demanding something in return. To me, the Christian thing to do is to stop the spread of AIDS without doing harm. Exporting policies that we know don’t work, like abstinence-until-marriage, through the purse strings of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is not a Christian thing to do.

My HIV/AIDS activism is part of my Christian identity. Whether I am teaching Sunday School, organizing an AIDS forum on my campus, or lobbying a Member of Congress about better HIV/AIDS policy, my faith sustains me.

So, this World AIDS Day, ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?”  Then, ask — what am I doing?

To take action and share your views for World AIDS Day, join Advocates for Youth’s World AIDS Day Blogathon, running from December 1-7, 2008, at

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  • invalid-0

    All I can say is Amen!

  • heather-corinna

    This is so seriously fantastic.


    We hear from a lot of Christian users — some of them also queer — at Scarleteen and I can only hope some of them come upon leaders who share their faith who are like you, Scott. :)

  • therealistmom

    I myself am atheist, but the message you are bringing to these young people is important, universal, and so very much needed. What you have described about the figure known as Jesus is what I have found to be the "good" things that Christianity should emulate, and sadly there are some so blinded by their own agendas they seem to forget the positive messages of charity and compassion, and they often are the most vocal in the community.



  • invalid-0

    Scott La Cross is truly a Christian and a follower of Jesus. In my book (, I wrote specifically about Jesus’ relationship with homosexuals: “I simply cannot picture the Jesus I know caring one way or the other unless it hurts another. Jesus obviously loved so many people who were far out of the mainstream that adding another dimension would make no difference to him. Indeed, if the culture of this day found homosexuality as objectionable as this age does, then Jesus would have embraced them because they needed his love and understanding; there would have so little of it around.”
    Scott follows this great example of Jesus to like, respect, and love those who diverged from the social norm. Homosexuals are just people like everyone else.
    Thank you Scott.

  • invalid-0

    How widespread is the phenomenon?… the strategy of
    “Let’s get tested TOGETHER
    BEFORE we have sex, for A VARIETY of STDs.”
    Sexual health checkups reduce ambiguity/risks and can be
    like anything else POTENTIAL sex partners might do together.

  • invalid-0

    Great article!
    Jesus was a badass rebel and would certainly be helping those affected with HIV/AIDS today and wanting to spread truth on how to stop the spread of the disease, no sex 100% condoms correctly and consistently 99%. He would be hanging out with those ostracized by society.


    • invalid-0

      Do you actually believe for one second that Jesus would be in favor of Planned Parenthood? Come on now.

  • invalid-0

    I think you’re absolutely right. I believe that many Christians, in particular the more extremists ignore or forget the true message of love and compassion for all in the bible.

  • chat

    A very cool post.

    i have followed your writing for a long time.really you have given very successful information. In chat spite of my english trouale,I am trying to read and understand your writing. And i am following frequently.I hope that you will be with us  sohbet  together with much more scharings. I hope that your success will go on

  • invalid-0

    If we really want to bring Jesus into this, let’s just ask ourselves this…

    “What kind of abortion method would Jesus recommend?”

  • therealistmom

    From what I have read of the life of Yeshua, he would have promoted those things which do the most good in the lives of human beings. Granted, I believe the figure of Yeshua/ Jesus is is manufactured from an amalgamation of pagan mythologies mixed with the Jewish messianic predictions, but either way… he taught compassion, healed the sick, and preached of peace. The misogyny didn’t really start (New Testament wise) until the writings of Paul and the false book of Timothy inserted in the middle ages. The Bible itself is silent on abortion in general, though there verses in the OT explaining how much money you had to pay if you caused a woman to miscarry a fetus (more for a male fetus, of course) and a "magic spell" to find out if your wife has been cheating on you, which would induce her to miscarry (ie cause an abortion). The Judaic traditions do not grant personhood until an infant takes its first breath, and the early Christian church even after it became an organized entity allowed for abortion until "quickening".

    So yes, I think he would be in favor of an organization that offers health and hope to women… family planning, the prevention of STD’s, general gynocological care that keeps women healthy, which are the primary goals of PP. 

  • colleen

    "Do you actually believe for one second that Jesus would be in favor of Planned Parenthood?"


    You betcha

    I also believe that Jesus would be appalled and disgusted by what the religious right has done and continues to do in His name. 




  • invalid-0

    excellent commentary! thank you.