WORLD AIDS DAY 2013: AN OPPORTUNE MOMENT TO TAKE STOCK

WORLD AIDS DAY 2013: AN OPPORTUNE MOMENT TO TAKE STOCK

As we mark Word AIDS Day, the SACBC AIDS Office applauds the work of church organisations working in local communities and in collaboration with others committed to the fight against AIDS.

The SACBC AIDS Office applauds the commitment of the Minister and the Department of Health to the provision of HIV counselling and testing and anti-retroviral treatment, prevention of mother to child transmission programmes, and TB screening and treatment.

Treatment is now available in every health district in the country, and PMTCT in every ante-natal facility. Very few babies are born HIV positive. Life expectancies are back in the mid 60’s.

The Church calls on all the people of our country to be responsible to bring down still unacceptably high rates of infection and daily new HIV infections: educating the young, taking responsibility for personal sexual behaviour, addressing and preventing violence against women and children.

The Church applauds the commitment of health care professionals and volunteer community careworkers in faith communities and NGOs providing services across the country, and in their increasing care for orphans and children made vulnerable by AIDS. Partnerships between government, faith communities, NGOs and donors has brought about a real reversal of previous denial and inaction.

Since 2000 Catholic Church projects have provided home based care to thousands of terminal patients in more than 70 community based projects. More than 45 000 people have been initiated on ARV treatment at 22 treatment sites, and more than 40 000 orphans have received comprehensive care and support in their local communities.

The Church will continue to work alongside government and community organizations to respond to the epidemic and to provide care and support for children orphaned by AIDS.

AIDS has been with us for more than 30 years. During that time it has killed millions worldwide cutting short lives, destroying families and bringing about unimaginable suffering.

Despite the gains the crisis isn’t over.