Angels in the Carolinas: Interfaith Teams Overcome the Stigma of AIDS

Starting in 1997, a faith-based organization in Charlotte, N.C. recruited and trained members of congregations to help HIV/AIDS patients living in African-American and rural white communities in a 13-county area of the Carolinas.

The initiative by the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) of the Southern Piedmont was a response to the rapid spread of AIDS into the region and the disease's disproportionately high toll among African Americans.

The congregation teams—called CareTeams—provided logistical support, such as meals and transportation, as well as friendship and encouragement.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships (LFP) national program.

In addition to RAIN's work, a separate Charlotte organization—the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium—made grants to support AIDS education, prevention and treatment services in the same 13-county region.

Key Results

  • RAIN trained 30 new CareTeams in white rural areas and 38 teams in African-American communities.

  • CareTeams helped HIV/AIDS patients and family members deal with such difficult issues as depression and addiction.

  • RAIN staff conducted 191 educational programs attended by a total of 20,000 people.

  • The Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium awarded 48 grants to support HIV/AIDS programs serving a total of more than 24,000 people.