Christian AIDS Services/Association Offers Hope and Help to Many in Germany

CAH (Christian AIDS Services/Association) is an independently-registered association and member of the Deaconry Work of Hessen and Nassau in Germany. It began in 1991 as an outpatient care facility whose workers visited and cared for patients in their homes. CAH is not bound to any denomination but works with Christians from all churches. Its work is centered on the basic principles of the German Evangelical (Protestant) Alliance.

Primary goals include offering medical, health, homecare and support for patients with HIV-related diseases, drug addicts, the homeless, prostitutes, the poor and the needy. Care is based on the individual needs of the patient and the demonstration of Christian faith.

Family and friends, upon request, are bound into and guided in this process. Besides medical care, there is also homecare in which the patient receives support and supervision in completing daily chores such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing and visiting the doctor.  

CAH workers also make visitations to hospices, hospitals and other medical facilities, where they interact with patients. Support is also offered to drug addicts and the homeless in the areas surrounding the Frankfort central railway station. These individuals are invited to breakfast and offered the help of a CAH nurse and social worker.

Consultation either by telephone or in-person is also a part of CAH field of work. CAH workers will discuss the risks of infection, HIV testing, clinical pictures/disease patterns of AIDS and personal difficulties those infected will face. A social worker will also assist the patient when contacts with civil service departments need to be made or when social questions need to be answered.

Working in the public sector is very important for CAH. Workers do this by offering instruction and information to schools, churches and public events. AIDS and associated issues such as sexuality, terminal care and addiction are discussed from a Christian point-of-view. CAH has also developed its own tutorial tools for the prevention of AIDS.

The CAH team is made up of four registered nurses, one social worker, an administrative head and two civil service providers. The team is also supplemented by trained volunteer workers. The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) is the model for CAH workers. They seek to offer merciful Samaritan service as exemplified in the New Testament to AIDS patients.

The reality is that despite all the medical success, AIDS is still a terminal illness.

Yes, the life expectancy of patients has increased in the past few years.

Patients may profit from the possibilities of adjunctions; however, many may suffer adverse effects of the highly effective medication.

It often appears that increased life expectancy does not bring a better quality of life for patients. The number of patients living under social impoverty increases noticeably. Ministries such as CAH are now looking beyond the medical care of AIDS patients and the support and supervision of the homeless, drug addict and prostitute to provide personal and lengthy care and support.

This article is edited from a Christian AIDS Services/Association, press release.