Utah's first interfaith conference on AIDS, aimed at helping religious leaders better understand the medical and spiritual aspects of the deadly disease, will be Oct. 10-11.

The two-day conference, proposed by AIDS Project Utah and planned by a steering committee representing various denominations, will feature a panel discussion on "The Spirituality of Suffering," by officials of the Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran, LDS and Roman Catholic churches.The Rev. William Swing, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, will give the keynote address Oct. 10 in the University Park Hotel.

Conference participants also will hear from Chris Sandoval, assistant director of San Francisco's Shanti Project, a support program for AIDS patients and their friends and families.

"In the near future, AIDS will touch every parish or congregation in one way or another," said Greg Anderson, associate pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church and chairman of the steering committee.

The conference will offer workshops on a range of topics related to AIDS, from a discussion of basic scientific facts by Dr. Kristen Ries; to "Congregational Responses in Education and Action," by Monsignor John Sullivan of St. Anne's Parish; and a session on "Living with AIDS," by members of the People with AIDS Coalition.