BY SCO Admin | March 5 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


The end of AIDS epidemic is in sight, conference in Rome is told

A conference on the work the church is doing to fight AIDs took place in Rome last week, and suggested the end of the epidemic could be in sight.

Churches and other faith-based organisations are the largest single group providing health care services for people living with the HIV virus, and at the two day conference, UN officials recognized the crucial work of the Catholic Church and called for closer cooperation to work towards the end of the AIDS epidemic.

The meeting, jointly organised by UNAIDS and the global Catholic aid and development confederation, Caritas Internationalis, concluded on February 26 with a call to faith-based groups to step up efforts to provide holistic care and support for all those affected by the once fatal disease.

Brazilian doctor Luiz Loures, UN assistant secretary general and deputy executive director of UNAIDS, suggested that by working together churches and the UN could help end AIDs as a global epidemic.

Picture: An illuminated World AIDS Day ribbon

“We can (get) to the end of the epidemic of AIDS, based on the progress so far, but more than ever we need the faith based organisations and mainly the Catholic organisations to help us to get there,” he said. “Less than 10 years ago there was one single country in the south that was treating AIDS— hat was Brazil. There was no treatment in Africa, no treatment in Asia….today there are 10 million people on the treatment, mainly in Africa, with drastic reductions in terms of the number of deaths, This progress allows us to speak of the end of AIDS as a realistic target, but we also live a contradiction today – the access to progress, to treatment and prevention services is not the same to everybody…our biggest challenge today is discrimination.”

Dr Loures went on to say that ‘evidence shows that people who are on treatment are 96 per cent less likely to transmit the virus to their intimate sexual partners, their spouses… eventually we’ll get to a number—it won’t be zero .”


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