Is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) the Judgment of God?
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the people of the cities around them are an example, having given themselves over to sexual sin, went after those of the same sex, and suffered the punishment of everlasting fire. In this way, too, these filthy people, who don’t know the truth and destroy their own bodies, hate the authority of the Word, and speak evil of church authority. Jude 1: 7-8
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a sexually transmitted human viral disease that destroys the immune system, weakening the body’s ability to fight off infection and disease. The body’s ability to resist opportunistic viral, bacterial, fungal, and other infections is greatly weakened. Neurological problems and severe weight loss, or “wasting,” are typical complications of AIDS. Caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), AIDS makes an infected person susceptible to opportunistic infections, which are eventually fatal. Doctors use the term AIDS for the final, life-threatening stage of HIV infection. There is no cure for AIDS, but drugs are available that can improve the quality of life and prolong life for those infected. Is this disease a judgment of God or simply a viral infection that someday can be cured?
But these people, like animals, made to be hunted and killed, speak evil of the things that they don’t understand; and will be completely destroyed by their own evil actions. They’ll pay for their ungodliness, as those who think it a pleasure to sin openly in broad daylight. They’re ruining your celebrations, openly sinning while they keep them with you, lying to themselves. They look on others with sexual sin in their hearts, and can’t stop sinning; tempting unstable souls with a heart that’s used to selfish actions. They’re cursed children, who have left the right way, and have gotten lost... II Pet 2:12-15
Are people infected with AIDS cursed children, who have left the right way? What do we know about AIDS and how it is spread? AIDS can be transmitted sexually; through contact with contaminated blood, body tissue, or hypodermic needles; and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Full-blown symptoms of AIDS may not develop until several years after infection, but infected people can infect others during this time. Some of these people who are infected are completely innocent, simply spouses and children, or just someone who had a blood transfusion. From a Christian perspective, sin of any kind not only affects those who do it, but usually hurts innocent others along the way. For years, one of the homosexual slogans was that they weren’t hurting anybody, so they should be allowed to do whatever they wanted. Well, AIDS proved that homosexuality does hurt others. AIDS moved from the homosexuals to the drug users and further moved to the blood supply and then to the innocent spouses and children of those who were unknowingly infected. When those who were guilty of sexual sin became one with those who were infected, the disease was spread to a lot of innocent others. But it’s not too late for human beings to change the course of this disease. Those who already have it are not beyond God’s grace.
Don’t you know that the ungodly won’t inherit the realm of God? Don’t be misled: Neither the sexually immoral, nor those who worship falsely, nor those who are sexually unfaithful, nor cross-dressers, nor those who are homosexual, nor thieves, nor selfish, nor drunks, nor haters, nor cheats, will inherit the realm of God. And some of you were like this, but now you’re clean and have a changed life; but now you’re set apart; but now you’re made right in the Name of Yeshua the Christ and by the Spirit of our God...Now the body isn’t for sexual sin, but for God; and the body needs God. And God, who has brought Christ back to life, will also bring us back to life with great power. Don’t you know that your bodies are the members of Christ’s body? Should I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a sexually immoral person? Never! Don’t you know that whoever is joined to a sexually immoral person is one body? The Christ said, when two are joined, they will become as one body. But whoever is joined to God is one spirit. So run from sexual sin! Every sin that someone does is outside the body; but whoever takes part in sexual sin sins against their own body. Don’t you know that your body is the place of worship of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You aren’t even your own, because you were bought for a price. So give God your body, and your spirit, which are both God's. I Cor 6:9-20
There will be a great lack of food, and deadly diseases, and natural disasters, in many different places. All this is just the beginning of trouble. Matthew 24: 7-8
AIDS was first identified as a sexually transmitted disease in 1981 among homosexual men and intravenous drug users in New York and California. Shortly after its detection in the United States, evidence of the AIDS epidemic grew among heterosexual men, women, and children. AIDS quickly developed into a worldwide epidemic, affecting virtually every nation. While cases of AIDS have been reported in every nation of the world, the disease affects some countries more than others. Almost all people infected with HIV live in the developing world. In these areas, the disease has hit young men and women who are the foundation of the work force, with most dying in the midst of their reproductive years. The epidemic has overwhelmed health-care systems, and caused life expectancy rates in these areas to drop drastically. These problems have reached a crisis in some parts of the world, sometimes killing both parents and increasing the number of innocent orphans left behind. AIDS is a plague of biblical proportions, which is for our example as can be seen in I Corinthians 10:3-13.
But God wasn’t pleased with many of them so they died out in the countryside. Now these were our examples, so that we wouldn’t want the evil things that they wanted. So don’t be like those who worship falsely, as some of them were; as the Word says, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play around.” So don’t join in sexual sin, as some of them did, and 23,000 of them fell in one day…Now all this happened to them for our example: and they’re written for our warning, on us who the end of the world now comes. So let those who think they stand be careful in case they fall. You’ll face no temptation but what is common to all humanity; but God is faithful, who won’t let you be tempted more than what you’re able to handle; but will make a way for you to escape along with the temptation, so that you’ll be able to handle it.
Though AIDS can be spread in a number of ways, including through sexual intercourse with an infected person, by contact with contaminated blood, and by transmission from an infected mother to her child before or during birth or through breastfeeding, HIV transmission occurs most commonly during intimate sexual contact with an infected person, including genital, anal, and even oral sex. The virus is present in the infected person’s semen or vaginal fluids. During sexual intercourse, the virus gains access to the bloodstream of the uninfected person by passing through openings in the protective tissues that line the mouth, vagina, and rectum and through the penis. In the United States, HIV is most commonly transmitted during sex between homosexual men, but the incidence of HIV transmission between promiscuous heterosexual men and women has rapidly increased, often infecting innocent partners, and their children in the process. Not only have those who have been promiscuous died, but their innocent partners and children have died as well.
Marriage is to be respected in all ways, and the marriage bed kept pure and holy. God will judge those who practice sexual sin and are sexually unfaithful. Hebrews 13:4
Direct contact with HIV-infected blood occurs when people who use injected drugs share needles or syringes contaminated with infected blood. Less frequently, HIV infection results when health professionals accidentally stick themselves with needles containing HIV-infected blood or expose an open cut to contaminated blood. Though quite a few cases of HIV transmission from infected blood transfusions, blood components, and organ donations were reported in the 1980s, due to negligent screening practices, since 1985 government regulations in the United States have required that all donated blood and body tissues be screened for HIV before using them in medical practices. As a result of these new safer regulations, HIV transmission caused by contaminated blood transfusion or organ donations is now relatively rare in North America, though not completely unknown. However, the problem continues to concern health officials in developing nations, few having appropriate blood-screening practices to screen for the presence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
HIV can be transmitted from an infected mother to her innocent baby while the baby is in the womb or, more often, during childbirth. The virus can also be transmitted through the mother’s breast milk during breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission accounts for almost all cases of AIDS in children. Other children may be infected with this and other sexually transmitted diseases from episodes of childhood sexual abuse through incest or by infected pedophiles. AIDS differs from other infectious viruses in that it dies quickly if exposed to the environment. No evidence has linked HIV transmission to casual contact with an infected person, such as a handshake, hugging, or kissing, or even sharing dishes or bathroom facilities. Studies have been unable to identify HIV transmission from modes common to other infectious diseases, such as an insect bite or inhaling virus-infected mucus from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.
The young people followed after them like animals going to the slaughter, or as criminals to the correction of jail; till they contracted deadly diseases; and just like a bird rushes into a trap, they don’t know that it will cost them their life. Pro 7: 22-23
Without medical intervention, AIDS progresses along a typical course. Within a week or two after infection with HIV, most people experience flu-like symptoms for a few weeks, with fever, sore throat, headache, skin rash, tender lymph nodes, and a vague feeling of discomfort. During this phase, HIV reproduces rapidly in the blood. The virus circulates in the blood throughout the body, particularly concentrating in the lymphatic system. The normal immune defenses against viral infections eventually activate to battle HIV in the body, reducing but not eliminating HIV in the blood. Infected people then typically enter a prolonged symptom-free period that can last ten years or more. While persons who have HIV may remain in good health during this period, HIV continues to reproduce, eventually destroying the immune system. Often infected people don’t know that they have HIV and transmit the virus to others sexually during this phase of the infection. Their partners may never have been promiscuous at all, but are often innocent spouses, who may then pass HIV on to their innocent children.
When HIV infection reduces the number of immune cells, the infected individual enters an early symptomatic phase that may last a few months to several years. HIV-infected persons in this stage may experience a variety of symptoms that are not life-threatening but may considerably weaken them. These symptoms include extensive weight loss and fatigue (wasting syndrome), periodic fever, recurring diarrhea, and thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth. An early symptom of HIV infection in women is a recurring vaginal yeast infection. In this early symptomatic phase the symptoms that develop are often severe enough to cause people to seek medical treatment, which is often when they first learn of their infection. If immune cell levels drop significantly, the late symptomatic phase develops. This phase is characterized by the appearance of many opportunistic infections and rare cancers. The onset of these illnesses usually means that an HIV-infected person has developed a full-blown case of AIDS. The cumulative effects of these illnesses usually cause death, often in a slow and painful way.
Opportunistic infections caused by viruses, especially members of the herpes virus family, are common in people with AIDS. One of the herpes viruses infects the eye and can result in blindness. Another herpes virus may cause certain types of blood cancers. Infections with herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 or 2 may result in sores around the mouth, genital area, or anus. Many people with AIDS also develop cancers. The destruction of immune cells impairs the immune functions that halt the development of cancer. Kaposi’s sarcoma, which usually only affects homosexuals and bisexuals, is a cancer of blood vessels caused by a herpes virus. This cancer produces ugly enlarged purple spots on the skin, which can spread to internal organs and cause death. Cervical cancer is common in HIV-infected women. A variety of neurological disorders are also common in the later stage of AIDS. Collectively called HIV-associated dementia, they develop when HIV infects the brain. The infection produces degeneration of intellectual processes such as memory, and sometimes causes problems with speech, movement, and coordination.
HIV infection in children progresses more rapidly than in adults, most likely because the immune systems in children have not yet built up immunity to many infections. Once a child is infected, the child’s undeveloped immune system cannot stop the virus from multiplying quickly in the blood. The disease is particularly aggressive in babies, with more than half of the babies born with HIV dying before the age of two. Children develop many of the opportunistic infections that befall adults but also exhibit symptoms not seen in older patients. Among babies and children, HIV infection produces wasting syndrome and slow or no growth (failure to thrive). HIV typically infects a child’s brain early in the disease, impairing intellectual development and coordination skills. Children also show an increased susceptibility to many bacterial and viral infections.
Since HIV was first identified as the cause of AIDS in 1983, a variety of tests have been developed that help diagnose HIV infection as well as determine how far the infection has progressed. Other tests can be used to screen donated blood, blood products, and body organs for the presence of HIV. Doctors determine if HIV is present in the body by identifying HIV antibodies. Their presence indicates HIV infection because they only form in the body when HIV is present. HIV antibodies form several weeks after HIV infection occurs, in which time others may still be infected. The antibodies are present from then on. The tests are very accurate in detecting HIV infection within 12 weeks following exposure. A modified test can determine if specific drug treatments are useful to a patient. This test is also used by blood banks, plasma centers, clinical laboratories, private clinics, and public health departments to screen for the presence of HIV in blood, blood components, and organs before they are used in medical procedures.
While no medical treatment cures AIDS, in the time since the disease was first recognized, new methods to treat the disease have been developed. Health-care professionals focus on three areas of therapy for people living with HIV infection or AIDS: antiretroviral therapy using drugs that suppress HIV replication; medications and other treatments that fight the opportunistic infections and cancers that commonly accompany HIV infection; and support systems that help people deal with the emotional issues and practical considerations of living with a fatal disease.
Studies have shown that the most effective treatment for AIDS uses a combination of three drugs taken together, which are often referred to as the AIDS cocktail. This triple therapy increases drug strength while reducing the chance for drug resistance. HIV-infected patients who have undergone triple therapy have sustained good health for longer periods of time, with some patients who were near death being able to return to work and normal physical activity. But many people find it difficult to deal with the unpleasant side effects produced by these drugs. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, kidney stones, anemia, and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Some patients may also develop diabetes, while other patients develop fat deposits in the abdomen or back, causing a noticeable change in body shape. Some drugs produce an increase in blood fat levels, placing a patient at risk for heart attack or stroke. Some of these patients suffer more misery from the drugs than they do from AIDS and the high cost is often beyond the means of those with low incomes or with no health insurance.
Some studies show that under certain circumstances, administering antiretroviral drugs within 24 hours (preferably within one to two hours) after exposure to HIV can protect a person from becoming infected with the virus. Although the effectiveness of post-exposure antiretroviral therapy following sexual exposure to HIV, such as in rape cases, remains uncertain, the CDC recommends that health-care personnel exposed to HIV infection from a needle stick or other accident take antiretroviral drugs. Yet the genetic variability of HIV hampers efforts to develop an effective vaccine. A vaccine effective against one type of HIV may not work on a mutated virus.
All that hate me whisper together against me, trying to hurt me. They say that an evil disease is clinging to me; and now that I’m sick, they say I’ll rise up no more. Psalms 41:7-8
A person diagnosed with HIV infection faces many challenges, including choosing the best course of treatment, paying for health care, and providing for the needs of children in the family while ill. In addition to these practical considerations, people with HIV infection must cope with the emotional toll associated with the diagnosis of a fatal illness. The social stigma that continues to surround a diagnosis of AIDS because of the disease’s frequency among homosexuals, promiscuous heterosexuals, or drug users cause many people to avoid telling others, except those closest to them, about their illness. Even those closest to them may not find out until it’s obvious. Counseling centers and churches often provide counseling to help people with HIV infection or AIDS understand their feelings, problems, and coping mechanisms. Family counseling can help deal with the emotions of family members who are upset by the diagnosis of HIV in someone they love. Grief counseling also helps people who have lost friends or family members to AIDS.
So we beg you, Christians, and encourage you by Christ Yeshua, that as you’ve gotten from us how you should walk to please God…God wants you to give up sexual sin, so that everyone of you would know how to keep their body set apart, with blessing and honor; Not in the need of excitement, like other people who don’t know God. I The 4:1-12
With a vaccine for AIDS years away and no cure expected any time soon either, experts believe that the most effective treatment for AIDS is to stop HIV infection from happening in the first place. Health officials focus public education programs on changing dangerous behaviors linked to HIV transmission, particularly promiscuous and unsafe sexual practices and needle-sharing by intravenous drug users. Education programs teach how to use condoms effectively to have a protective barrier against HIV during sexual intercourse, though they don’t always explain that condoms may break and cause infection if one partner has HIV. Needle-exchange programs, which provide clean needles, enable intravenous drug abusers to avoid sharing HIV-contaminated needles, but they do nothing to discourage drug use. To reduce the accidental transmission of HIV during medical procedures, the United States has strict guidelines for health-care settings, though even these methods are not foolproof. Only safe-sex campaigns sponsored by churches, health clinics, schools, and others, which encourage sexual abstinence or monogamy (sexual relations with only one partner), preferably with one who is known to be uninfected, are truly effective in the fight against AIDS. Christians should have compassion on those infected with AIDS, but teach them what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go, but don’t sin any more.”
From the early days of the identification of AIDS, the disease has been connected to behaviors that are considered immoral in the Scripture. Consequently, a diagnosis of AIDS was often a mark of disgrace. Some people believe the disease is God’s punishment for behaviors that are immoral, such as homosexuality, promiscuity, and drug use, though many innocent people are affected by the sins of the guilty, as well. This often causes a social stigma from the disease, which can hurt those people who are infected, but are innocent from any sin known to cause AIDS. So should Christians avoid those with AIDS? According to the following passage in Cor., we should only put out of the church those who call themselves Christians, yet continue in their openly immoral behaviors. We should never abandon those who are innocent of sexual sin or have repented of their sexual sin, nor should we shun entirely those outside the faith, because they can still be reached for Christ and change their behaviors.
I wrote to you before in a letter not to keep company with the sexually immoral: Yet you can’t stay away from the sexually immoral of this world totally…because then you would need to completely leave the world. But I’ve written to you not to keep company with anyone called a Christian, who is a sexually immoral person…so don’t keep company with these kinds of people. I’ve no business judging those that aren’t in the faith. I only judge those who are thought of as Christians. But those who aren’t in the faith God judges. So separate those evil people from among you. I Cor 5:9-13
Romans 1:24-32 is one of the clearest passages Christians base their judgment of the immorality of promiscuity and homosexuality on, but being careful to not condemn the innocent should be remembered.
So God also gave them up to the evil they wanted out of their own hearts, to shame their own bodies among themselves…Because of this God gave them up to the evil they wanted, so that even their women changed the natural way of sex into what is against nature: And in the same way the men also, not wanting to have sex with a woman naturally, but wanting to have sex with each other; men with men, doing what is clearly wrong, and getting diseases in themselves from their wrongs, which they rightfully deserved as punishment. And as they didn’t like to remember God, God gave them over to an ungodly mind, to do what isn’t natural; Being filled with all ungodliness, sexual sin, evil, greed, cruelty; jealousy, murder, arguments, lies, criticism; gossip, back-talkers, God-haters, wanting revenge, proud, braggers, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without knowledge, promise breakers, without natural love, stubborn, and uncaring: Who knowing the judgment of God, that those who do such things are worthy of death, and not only do them, but are happy when others do them.
So put to death in your bodies, which are on earth, sexual sin, all evil, unnatural affection, evil passions, and greed, which is false worship, because the judgment of God comes on the children of rebelliousness for these very things. And you also once did these kinds of things, when you lived in that way. Col 3:5-6
To some, the AIDS epidemic is a troubling trend in humanity’s future. AIDS is viewed by some as another disease that demonstrates how vulnerable human beings are to the effects of sin, both the guilty and the innocent. The social, ethical, and economic effects of the AIDS epidemic are just beginning to be understood, and no one is certain how bad the consequences may be. In spite of the horrid facts of the AIDS epidemic, humanity has some effective means to fight the disease. Knowledge, prevention and love are the hope of the future for AIDS victims. Teaching people that promiscuous and homosexual sex is the primary cause of the disease, how to effectively prevent the disease by stopping those behaviors, and having love and compassion for those experiencing the disease, especially those innocent of sin, will truly make the difference in their lives.
Love does nothing wrong to another, so love does what the Word of God says to do. And do that, knowing the time, that now it’s high time to awake from sleep, because now we’re closer to being saved than we ever thought. The night is almost over, and the day is near, so let’s put off what we’ve done in darkness, and let’s put on the covering of light. Let’s walk honestly, as in the day; not in fighting and drunkenness, not acting in sexual sin and shamelessness, not in arguing and jealousy. But put on the likeness of Yeshua the Christ, and don’t satisfy the wants of the body. Romans 13:10-14
So don’t have anything to do with the meaningless actions of darkness, but instead expose them for what they are. It’s a shame even to speak of what’s done by them in secret, but everything that is disapproved of is made clear when it’s brought to light and whatever makes it clear is light. This is why God said, “Awake, you who are sleeping, come to life from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then, that you walk carefully, not as thoughtless people do, but as wise ones, using your time wisely, because the days are evil. So don’t be unwise, but understand what God wants you to do. And don’t be getting drunk on alcohol, which is excessive; but be filled with the Spirit…Always give thanks to the God we are from for everything in the Name of our Christ Yeshua; accepting one another out of respect for God. Eph 5:11-21
Bartlett, John G. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation.
Shilts, Randy. (1987,1988). And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. St. Martin Press. New York.