The Adventist Response to AIDS

Speaker: Categories: Feb 09, 1991


This lecture has only 1 CD/MP3

[53min, 10sec]


For many, perhaps even many Seventh-day Adventists, the term "AIDS" associates with concepts of "divine retribution," a plague or scourge which is justly deserved, and justly applied to the "ungodly." For others, the term elicits fear, an apprehension about an indiscriminately transmitted, fatal illness of epidemic proportions, affecting both the "just and the unjust." What is the reality? What is the truth about this disease which evades cure and, even more disturbingly, seems to evade all attempts at containment?

Dr. Hopp, our February speaker, states: "By the Year 2000, [that's nine years away] AIDS will have touched every family, including every Adventist family, in some way. Friends, relatives, members of the congregation, students and faculty in Adventist schools, health professionals called upon to treat person with AIDS -- every Adventist will have to respond to AIDS. Will that response be determined by one's Christian beliefs? If so, how?"

''The fact that the AIDS epidemic first surfaced among the gay population, and often is being transmitted now between intravenous drug users," continues Dr. Hopp, "calls into play judgmental attitudes and homophobia. Or, we deny that AIDS could possibly be a problem in our congregation."

She adds further: "The statistics indicate that many of the persons with AIDS acquired the viral infection while they were teenagers [ emphasis supplied}. This presents a challenge to parents, teachers, and youth pastors to raise the level of awareness of vulnerability among teenagers. In today's world, it is difficult to make sex an unpopular activity or to prevent experimentation with drugs. The values which Adventists have stood for would protect many people from this viral infection, but how best to communicate our values so that young people adopt them is the task."

Does that sound like a rather tall order, an exciting challenge, or an impossible dream? At a time when the values associated with a conservative lifestyle are openly, often blatantly, rejected by youth and young adults, is it realistic, even possible, for parents, teachers, and pastors to communicate an accurate, non-scare-tactic awareness about this ever-increasing, rampant killer? And what about the knowledge we individually have about AIDS? Is this knowledge accurate, the result of media messages, or hunches and intuitions which allow us to just "know" all there is to know?


Dr. Joyce Hopp has accepted our invitation for a return visit to the San Diego FORUM. Last May she stimulated our thinking in a presentation entitled, "The Role of the Adventist Professional." So, it's a delight to welcome her back.

Dr. Hopp earned an R.N. degree from Loma Linda, 1948; a B.S. degree in Nursing Education from Walla Walla, 1951; a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University, 1955; and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, 1974. Her dissertation was entitled, "Applicability of Value-clarifying Strategies in Health Education at the Sixth Grade Level."

She joined the faculty at LLU in 1967 where she is Professor, Health Promotion and Education, and where she currently serves as Dean of the School of Allied Health. She previously taught at Southwestern Union College (1963-64) and was employed by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (1954-63).

Dr. Hopp has been published widely with more than twenty articles in peer-reviewed journals. Much of her research and publication effort has focused on AIDS and AIDS education. In addition, Babies in Her Saddlebags, a book published by Pacific Press, 1987, may be known to many FORUM members.

In 1988 she was selected as Distinguished Professor, Loma Linda University and designated as Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at the same campus. In 1987 the Association of Adventist Women, General Conference of SDA, chose her as Woman of the Year: Work/Professional Life Award. The American School Health Association granted her a Distinguished Service Award in 1984.

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