Cal-Nev clergy member seeks help in Global AIDS battle

August 06, 2007

AIDS as we know it is 25 years old. But today there is a new face of Global AIDS – that of a young woman, 15-24 years of age, living in sub-Sahara Africa or Asia.

Michael J. Christensen, a clergy member of California-Nevada Annual Conference and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Drew University, is also Africa Regional Director for CitiHope International – a non-sectarian, Christian, humanitarian relief and development agency working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. (Visit

Christensen cites the following “alarming numbers behind the new face” of AIDS: 

·    Around 40 million people worldwide have HIV/AIDS

·    63% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa

·    20% of them live in Asia – where new cases of HIV/AIDS are on the rise

·    Five people die of AIDS every minute

·    In the same amount of time, nine more people are infected with HIV

·    About 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981

·    The same number are now infected in sub-Saharan Africa: 25 million

·    Half of those living with HIV in Africa are orphaned or abandoned children. The common estimate is about 12 million kids whose lives have been impacted by AIDS. 

In Malawi, Africa, where AIDS infects 14% of the population and accounts for more than 85,000 deaths per year (leaving 950,000 AIDS-affected orphans), CitiHope’s mission is to bring help and raise hope. In 2006, CitiHope and its ministry partners: 

·    provided more than one million nutritional meals to 3,000 orphans in nine orphan care centers

·    delivered $2 million dollars’ worth of medicine and medical supplies to 17 hospitals, seven schools, and five prisons

·    supported 38 community-based organizations that feed and care for more than 12,000 persons with at least one meal a day for the year

·    trained and equipped 60 pastors and community leaders (20 men and 40 women) in dealing with the social and spiritual issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in their churches

·    Identified and funded its first HopeHome in Malawi 

This year, CitiHope hopes to do more. Christensen writes, “I’m a man on a mission to help save 1,000 AIDS orphans and widows in Africa, and I need help. As Bono says: ‘Africa is ablaze. We are called to put out the fire!’” 

Michael J. Christensen posts on a regular mission blog at