Bahá’ís are called upon to respond with love and compassion to the intense personal suffering of those directly or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS. There should be no fault finding, judging, assignment of blame, or stigmatization of individuals thus afflicted. While Bahá’ís are called upon to adhere to a high standard of personal conduct, it is our duty as well to love and care for those who fall short of that same conduct including ourselves.
From the Bahá’í perspective, the progression of the disease, and its treatment and prevention must be addressed by educating men and women to value and respect ourselves, each other, and the sanctity of the family by practicing sexual abstinence before marriage and faithfulness during marriage. Bahá’ís also believe that sexual intercourse is only permissible between married men and women. Unmarried Bahá’ís are urged to practice chastity, and to uphold this standard no matter how difficult it is in a society that promotes the exact opposite.
Additionally, the Bahá’í International Community states that the incidence of AIDS globally, disproportionately affects women. The Bahá’í Writings state that traditional gender roles contribute greatly to this, and that have gone unquestioned for generations must be re-examined in light of justice and compassion, and that nothing short of a spiritual transformation will move men and women to forego the behaviors that contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
This section of the website will be dedicated to exploring HIV/AIDS through letters and statements from Bahá’í Institutions as well as a medical understanding of the HIV/AIDS Infection.
“Physical ailments, no matter how severe, cannot bring any change in the inherent condition of the soul.” – Shoghi Effendi (from a letter written on his behalf)