By Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva In many countries of the world, in both global North and global South, much attention is given to the legal status of migrants. As we observe World Migration Day 2012, Caritas Internationalis wishes to call attention to the full range of needs of migrants, including their right to enjoy good health as well as access to health care. Much discrimination is experienced by migrants as a result of national and local health policies that are founded on such factors as racial, ethnic, cultural and religious prejudice; xenophobia; fear that migrants drain financial resources from a host population; and misunderstanding or misperception of the contributions made by migrants to host populations. Faith-inspired organisations, such as Caritas, engage in health-related advocacy with migrants in order to assure equitable access to health care, in accord with the vision developed by [...]
More than 30 years into the pandemic, UNAIDS estimates that 34.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV. This number includes an estimated 3.4 million children under the age of 15 years. The number of people living with HIV increases each year because fewer people are dying, thanks to the increasing availability of lifesaving antiretroviral medication. The number of people receiving medication rose by 20 percent between 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the cost of a year's supply of the medication decreased from more than $10,000 per person in 2000 to less than $100 in 2011. Despite this progress, HIV still presents a serious global health crisis. In 2011, more than 7,000 people were infested every day. Catholic Relief Services (a caritas member in the US) has been on the forefront of the epidemic since launching our first HIV project in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1986. Today, CRS and its partners directly support more than [...]
Catholic Church-inspired organisations discuss lack of involvement among men in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission By Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS and Francesca Matera, Geneva delegation volunteer In many countries, pregnant women must seek permission from their husbands before accessing a simple HIV test that could be the determining factor for future health, illness or even death, both for themselves and their babies. Some women do not return for their test results because they fear the negative, or even violent, reactions of their husbands should the test be positive for HIV. And some HIV-positive women refuse to avail themselves of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programmes, again out of fear of male reactions and rejection from the extended family.
By Francesca Matera, Volunteer at CI Delegation to the UN in Geneva Members of Catholic Asia-Pacific Coalition on HIV and AIDS (CAPCHA) met for the third time, on 10-13 September, at the Camillian Pastoral Center in Bangkok, , to discuss and report on the development of the work of care and prevention carried out by Catholic organizations around Asia. Fr. Giovanni Contarin, MI, Chairperson of Catholic Committee on HIV/AIDS in Thailand, introduced this year’s theme, ‘Exchanging and Growing Together Within Catholic Values,’ with an inspiring welcome speech. Fr. Giovanni expressed appreciation for the work carried out by CAPCHA members and outlined the challenges that lay ahead. He mentioned, for example, the need to implement the United Nations Plan to address Non-Communicable diseases and to join the global effort in the fight against HIV/AIDS by advancing the so-called ‘triple-zero’ target of no discrimination, no new HIV infections, and no deaths due to [...]
By the Rev. Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Cartitas Internationalis Special Adviser on HIV/AIDS, and Ms. Aurorita Mendoza, CI volunteer in Geneva As the days begin to wind down at the 19th International AIDS Conference, we’re hearing the good news – about an HIV-free generation, seeing the end of the epidemic, more and more people now receiving ARV treatment. And indeed, the optimism has some basis. But let’s go a bit more deeply into both the progress and the challenges posed during this conference … Much scientific progress has been made. The virus can be kept in check with a range of better medications, which are effective both for treatment and for preventing further spread of the disease. The hope of discovering an HIV vaccine has been boosted by some initial results of a vaccine trial in Thailand; it showed only guarded results for protection of people from HIV infection but at least it renewed [...]
In Washington, D.C. to attend the International AIDS Conference, Finola Finnan of Trocaire (Caritas Ireland) delivered an address to the White House Forum for Faith Leaders. As Chairperson of the Catholic HIV/AIDS Network (CHAN), Finnan spoke about how many Church-related organisation provide not just medicine, but care for the whole person. Read an excerpt below and then read the address. ...I visited Makondo in Uganda, where the Medical Missionaries had lived and worked in the community for over fifty years. They were there through Amin’s time, through Obote’s and Museveni’s – they were there at the advent of AIDS. Their response was truly comprehensive – they provided support for orphaned and vulnerable children; an efficient and well-run clinic; treatment and referrals for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV; home care visits; livelihoods for children who had lost their parents; a roof for a family that had no money to repair it; [...]
Washington, DC—A report assessing the engagement of Catholic organizations in The Global Plan towards Elimination of New HIV Infections in Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive will be released to media at a press conference on Wednesday, July 25, at 3:00 pm. The study will also be presented that evening at 6:00 pm in the Faith Zone of the Global Village at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. The report, based on a survey by the Catholic HIV/AIDS Network (CHAN), documents the involvement of Catholic Church-related organizations with National AIDS Programs and their awareness and involvement in the Global Plan. “The Global Plan seeks involvement from religious organizations to encourage early testing and treatment for pregnant women living with HIV and their children,” said Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis. “The study findings indicate challenges that must be confronted by governments and churches alike in [...]