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Did you know? HIV / AIDS was first diagnosed in the early 80s! (See: The Origin of HIV and the First Cases of AIDS)
Reuters AlertNet - World Aids Day Executive President of Malteser Germany visits hospice in South Africa "Death is omnipresent!”
Message of Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) on World AIDS Day 2005
(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI issued an appeal on Wednesday in behalf of efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
The call came at the end of his weekly General Audience in Paul VI Hall, and looked forward to the UN-sponsored World Day against AIDS, which will be marked this coming Saturday, December 1st.
The Holy Father spoke of the millions of deaths and the tragic human suffering that the disease has caused.
“Suffering,” he said, “that is particularly great in the poorest regions of the world, where people have great difficulty in accessing effective drugs.”
Pope Benedict also noted the great number of children each year who contract the virus from their mothers, who do not have access to or knowledge of treatments capable of preventing mother-to-child transmission.
Concluding his appeal, Pope Benedict offered his encouragement to the many initiatives that the Church, in Her missionary work, promotes and carries out in order to eradicate the disease.
During the catechetical portion of his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI continued his reflections for the Year of Faith, focusing specifically on the way in which we are to speak about God to our contemporaries, communicating the Christian faith as a response to the deepest longings of the human heart.
“The first step, he said, “is to listen to what God has told us.”
Speaking in English, Pope Benedict said that communicating the faith, “means bearing quiet and humble witness each day to the core of the Gospel message,” the heart of which is the Good News of the God who is Love and who – in His Son – has drawn near to us, giving Himself for us on the Cross, bringing us in His resurrection the hope and promise of eternal life.
He also spoke of the privileged role that families play, saying that in families, “The life of faith is lived daily in joy, dialogue, forgiveness and love.”
“Jesus,” he said, “gave us an example: by his loving concern for people’s questions, struggles and needs, he led them to the Father.
The God of Jesus Christ has revealed our grandeur as persons redeemed by love and called, in the Church, to renew the city of man, so that it can become the city of God.”
quoted from: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-appeal-for-help-in-fight-against-hivaids
Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 26 November 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
... This 1 December is World Day Against AIDS. I warmly hope that this event will encourage an increased responsibility in treating this disease, together with the commitment to avoid all discrimination against those afflicted. As I invoke the Lord's comfort upon the sick and their families, I encourage the Church's many initiatives in this area. ...
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON HIV/AIDS
ADDRESS OF CARD. JAVIER LOZANO BARRAGÁN
Friday, 2 June 2006
I have the honour of extending His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's greetings to all who are engaged in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Pope is deeply concerned about the spread of the illness and guarantees both the continuity and the increase of the work that the Catholic Church does to stop this scourge.
Since the beginning, the Catholic Church has offered its contribution on the medical, social and spiritual levels in the fight against the HIV virus and those suffering from AIDS. In fact, 26.7 percent of the centres that treat people infected with HIV and affected by AIDS in the world are Catholic-based.
Our work focuses on the training of health-care professionals as well as prevention, treatment, care and assistance. We accompany the sick and their respective families at every stage.
Specifically, Caritas Internationalis is engaged in this important work in 102 countries.
The Holy See has launched initiatives all around the world against the pandemic in 62 countries: 28 in Africa, 9 in America, 6 in Asia, 16 in Europe and 3 in Oceania.
Besides the local personnel (both Religious and lay), there are several international congregations and associations working in this sector: the Vincentians, Caritas Internationalis, Sant'Egidio, Camillians, Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God (Fatebenefratelli), Jesuits, Sisters of Mother Teresa, Bambino Gesů Hospital of the Holy See and Catholic pharmacists, to mention but a few.
The action of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church in this regard is not introspective; rather, its goal is to strongly promote and strengthen the required sense of participation and responsibility that each country must develop in each phase of the answer to the pandemic.
Our major programmes for training are addressed to health-care professionals, priests, Religious, youth, families as well as the sick themselves.
In prevention, we insist on formation and education towards proper behaviour in order to avoid the pandemic. We find that in the field of education and formation, the contributions of the family prove to be extremely helpful and effective. We do this through publications, lectures and the exchange of experiences and skills.
As for health care and assistance to the sick, we, among others, stress the formation of doctors and related medical personnel, of chaplains and volunteers. We fight the stigma, facilitate testing, counselling and reconciliation. We provide anti-retrovirals and drugs to stop the vertical transmission (mother to child), and also promote measures to stop the blood contagion.
In the area of caring for and accompanying the sick, we stress avoiding contagion and taking care of orphans, widows and persons with AIDS who are in prison. We are helping with the social reintegration of HIV-positive people, and collaborate with governments and other institutions both on the civil and ecumenical levels that are dealing with the pandemic.
Regarding the economic aspects, the late Pope John Paul II established the Good Samaritan Foundation to support the neediest sick people, especially those afflicted with AIDS.
To date, we have facilitated the purchasing of antiretrovirals for centres in 18 countries: 13 in Africa, 3 in America and 2 in Asia. The funds given to these centres came from contributions by Catholics in 19 countries, from America, Asia, Europe as well as Africa itself.
For further information on our work and commitment, we are providing a brief publication to this Assembly, which can be found in the places reserved for this purpose in this hall.
Thank you, Mr President.
VATICAN MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD DAY AGAINST AIDS
1 DECEMBER 2005
To Bishops' Conferences, to national and international institutions and organizations, to NGOs and associations involved in prevention and assistance, to men and women of good will.
The World Day against AIDS of this year, organized by UNAIDS, with the slogan "Stop AIDS. Keep the promise," seeks to call everyone, and in particular those who occupy positions of responsibility in the field of HIV/AIDS, to a renewed and conscious commitment to the lasting prevention of the spread of this pandemic and to care for those afflicted by it, especially in poor countries, in order to stem and invert the trend towards the growing spread of infection by HIV/AIDS.
The Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care joins with other national and international organizations, and in particular UNAIDS, which every year organizes a world campaign of combating AIDS, so that this planetary evil, which has brought about a global crisis, can be met with an action that is equally global and united. The adherence in 2001 of Heads of State and representatives of governments to the Declaration of commitment to the struggle against HIV/AIDS was an important moment of affirming awareness and political commitment at a world level in favour of a strong, global and decisive reaction and response by the international community.
The epidemiological situation of HIV/AIDS continues to rouse great concern. It is estimated that in 2005 the number of people living with AIDS was 40.3 million, of whom 2.3 million were minors under the age of fifteen. Year by year the number of people infected by this disease continues to grow. In 2005, 4.9 million people contracted the HIV virus, of whom 700,000 were minors under the age of fifteen, and in 2005 3.1 million people died of AIDS, of whom 570,000 were young people under the age of fifteen. HIV/AIDS continues to sow death in all the countries of the world.
The best cure is prevention to avoid infection by HIV/AIDS, which we should remember is transmitted through the triple route of blood, transmission from mother to child, and sexual contact. As regards transfusions and other forms of contact with the blood of an infected person, today such infection has been notably reduced. Despite this fact, the very greatest attention should be paid to avoid this pathway of infection, especially in centres that deal with transfusions and during surgical operations.
We may thank the Lord that contagion from mother to child is strongly controlled by suitable drugs. Prevention in this field must be intensified through the provision of suitable medication to seropositive mothers, especially by public bodies in the various countries of the world.
The third pathway of infection -- sexual transmission -- still remains the most important. This is greatly fostered by a kind of pansexual culture that devalues sexuality, reducing it to mere pleasure without any further meaning. Radical prevention in this field must come from a correct conception and practice of sexuality, where sexual activity is understood in its deep meaning as a total and absolute expression of the fecund giving of love. This totality leads us to the exclusiveness of its exercise in marriage, which is unique and indissoluble. Secure prevention in this field thus lies in the intensification of the solidity of the family.
This is the profound meaning of the Sixth Commandment, of the law of God, which constitutes the fulcrum of the authentic prevention of AIDS in the field of sexual activity.
Faced with the difficult social, cultural and economic situation in which many countries find themselves, there can be no doubt that a defence and promotion of health is required that is a sign of the unconditional love of everyone, in particular for the poorest and the weakest, and which meets the human needs of every individual and the community. As a result those laws that do not take into sufficient consideration the equal distribution of conditions of health for everyone must be reformed. Health is a good in itself and we can say that "there weighs upon it a social mortgage."
Thus health must be assured to all the inhabitants of the earth and studies must be engaged in so that resources are used to achieve health for everyone by ensuring the basic care and treatment that are still denied to the majority of the population of the world. The right to the defence of health must, however, be matched by the duty to implement forms of behaviour and to follow lifestyles that are directed to defending health and to reject those that compromise health.
The Catholic Church continues to make her contribution both as regards prevention and in caring for people afflicted by HIV/AIDS and their families at the level of medical care and assistance and at the social, spiritual and pastoral levels. 26.7% of centres for the provision of care in relation to HIV/AIDS in the world are Catholic based. Local Churches, religious institutions and lay associations have promoted very many projects and programs dealing with training and education, prevention and assistance, care and the pastoral accompanying of sick people, with love, a sense of responsibility, and a spirit of charity.
At a practical level, on the basis of the information that comes from the various local Churches and Catholic institutions in the world, the actions that are engaged in the field of AIDS may be categorized in the following way: the promotion of campaigns of sensitization, programs of prevention and health-care education, support for orphans, the distribution of medicaments and food, home care, the creation of hospitals, centres and therapeutic communities that concentrate their work around the provision of care and assistance for people afflicted by HIV/AIDS, working with governments, care in prisons, courses of catechesis, the creation of systems of help through Internet, and the establishment of support groups for sick people.
Flanking this inestimable and praiseworthy endeavour, on 12 September 2004 Pope John Paul II created the "Good Samaritan" Foundation, which was entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care and subsequently confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI, in order to bring economic help, thanks to the donations that are received, to the sick people who are most in need in the world, and in particular to the victims of HIV/AIDS. During this first year of activity of the Foundation significant financial help to purchase pharmaceuticals has been sent to the local Churches in America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
I would like to offer certain suggestions at the level of guidelines for action to those who are involved at various levels in the fight against HIV/AIDS:
H. E. Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care
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