Aachen (Fides Service ) – In a recent interview with the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany “missio Aachen”, a representative of the United Nations department for AIDS, UNAIDS stressed the important role of the Catholic Church in helping to eliminate the virus and help those who suffer. “The Catholic Church is an excellent partner in the fight against AIDS” said Desmond Johns, head of UNAIDS offices in New York, underlining the Church’s activity in providing health care to people in the world’s poorest countries, particularly those suffering from HIV/AIDS and those widowed and orphaned by the disease.
In the past twelve months 3 million people died of AIDS: the highest number ever recorded. Desmond Johns said that at present Africa is the continent most affected but that similar scenes can be forecasted for Asia and Eastern Europe.
In the struggle against AIDS, UNAIDS co-ordinates the work of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Children’s Fund, UNDP Development Programme, UNFPA Population Fund and UNDCP Programme for Drug Control.
UNAIDS also collaborates with the Catholic Institutions in this field in various parts of the world. Desmond Johns highlighted the educational role of mission schools: “Catholic organisations are of fundamental importance in the fight against HIV/AIDS also with regard to increasing awareness and responsibility”. Missio Aachen support projects in Asia, Oceania and Africa to fight HIV/AIDS and offer people a better future. (MS) (Fides Service 16/1/2004 – 21 lines 263 words)