AIDS/HIV Crisis 1989 General Resolution

Because the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association have affirmed in covenant to promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

Because we reject the fear and loathing of the human body and sexuality instilled by some religious traditions, and we reject the notion of disease as divine punishment or natural retribution for "moral failure"; and

Because the General Assembly has declared its resolve that health care be made accessible to all, and that the rights of people living with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), those who are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and those who are perceived to be at risk not be abridged; and

WHEREAS AIDS and/or HIV infection present a human crisis of global proportions that threatens the lives of millions of people irrespective of sex, age, race, or sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS many governments and religious institutions have not yet spoken or acted with adequate moral or intellectual clarity in this crisis;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association:

  1. Calls for intensifying the search for treatments, cures, and prevention of the disease, expediting the availability of new drugs and alternative therapies, and allowing the use of experimental drugs and procedures by people living with AIDS and/or HIV infection;
  2. Affirms that responsible HIV testing should be informed, non-coercive, voluntary, and anonymous; and
  3. Calls upon individual Unitarian Universalists, its member congregations and affiliated organizations, and on the religious community at large to work with compassion, energy, and imagination to care for HIV-infected adults and children, support those who give care, and engage the human issues occasioned by this crisis;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association opposes such infringements upon the dignity and rights of people as:
  1. Indiscriminate HIV testing, which diverts resources from substantive responses to AIDS, while misuse of test results poses a serious threat to the confidentiality, rights, and livelihood of those whose tests may indicate infection by the virus;
  2. Discrimination against people living with AIDS and/or HIV infection, their domestic partners, their families and associates, and those who are presumed to be infected or at risk; and
  3. Mandatory HIV testing of foreign-born residents in the U.S. who are applying to legalize their status, and denials of both legalization and Medicaid to immigrants who have been living in the United States for years;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon government agencies at all levels in the United States and Canada to:
  1. Expand educational programs about transmission of HIV, including explicit information about sexual practices that pose high risk of infection, and methods for reducing risk;
  2. Fund and encourage anonymous, voluntary testing which can enable people to make informed choices regarding possible medical treatment; and
  3. Recognize the severity of intravenous (I.V.) drug abuse and, while increasing efforts to halt it, acknowledge the humanity of I.V. drug users and redirect public policy in ways that reduce the threat of HIV infection among this population, including assessment of the wisdom of distributing clean needles and syringes;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the medical and religious communities to address ethical and economic issues heightened by this crisis, including personal autonomy and responsibility, the dilemmas of people living with AIDS and/or HIV infection, their families, partners, and medical personnel, and finally the right to die with dignity.