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Washington, U.S.A. — The Catholic HIV/AIDS Network (CHAN), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, and the Office of African American Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will convene a Catholic Pre-Conference on HIV and AIDS at the Catholic University of America on July 21st and 22nd.
This event immediately precedes the International AIDS Conference, July 22nd – 27th, in Washington, DC. People engaged in Catholic Church-related programs responding to HIV in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America are expected to attend.
Participants will discuss findings of a recent survey conducted by CHAN, which assessed the engagement of Catholic organizations in The Global Plan towards Elimination of New HIV Infections in Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive. The survey findings will be released at the conference, demonstrating the high level of involvement of Catholic organizations in AIDS reduction and prevention programs and the desire among such organizations to increase contributions to The Global Plan going forward.
“This study demonstrates the strong commitment of Catholic Church-related organizations to defend and protect human life, especially among the most poor and vulnerable, including women and children living with or affected by HIV, ” said Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis.
“The Global Plan seeks involvement from religious organizations to encourage early testing and treatment for pregnant women living with HIV and their children. The study findings also indicate challenges that must be confronted by governments and churches alike in efforts to reach the goal of zero new infections among children by 2015 and of keeping HIV+ mothers alive and healthy.”
In June 2011, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched The Global Plan in response to a global increase in cases of perinatal (mother-to-child) transmissions of HIV. Focusing on 22 priority countries, the plan includes a detailed timetable for action at the community, national, regional and global levels.
In addition to discussing new ways of engaging with The Global Plan, Pre-Conference participants will attend a series of interactive workshops and plenary sessions on topics such as: Faith, Spirituality and Pastoral Care in the midst of HIV, Person-Center Responses to the HIV Pandemic, and Different Strategies for Different Cultures.
Image Courtesy of Catholic Charities USA