During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, many Christians didn't bother to get involved to help. They viewed AIDS as a disease mostly confined to gay people and drug users who were suffering the consequences of their own sin. But as AIDS has ravaged millions of people around the globe in the years since, Christians have finally taken notice. 

God calls the faithful to help all suffering people with compassion. The choice isn't whether or not to respond to the AIDS crisis; it's how to do so best.

Here's how you can respond to the AIDS crisis.

Seek to understand the problem. Get to know the extent of the AIDS epidemic around the world. Realize that nearly 40 million people currently live with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and that nearly 8,000 people (more than 1,300 of whom are children) die each day from AIDS. Find out about AIDS in your own community by doing some research through your local health department and contacting agencies in your area who help people with HIV or AIDS. Educate yourself on the global AIDS crisis by visiting the Web sites of health and relief organizations, then contacting them to follow up on anything that most interests you.

Some sites to visit include: World Relief (www.wr.org), the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (hab.hrsa.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's AIDS pages (www.cdc.gov/hiv), the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (www.aidsalliance.org), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (www.unaids.org), AIDS Education Global Information System (www.aegis.org), the Global Health Council (www.globalhealth.org/aids/), the National Association of People with HIV/AIDS (www.napwa.org), He Intends Victory, Inc. (www.heintendsvictory.com), the International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org), World Vision's Hope Initiative (www.wvi.org/wvi/aids/global_aids.htm), Hope for AIDS (www.hopeforaids.org), the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (www.thegaia.org), and ACET International Alliance (www.acet-international.org).