Bangkok (Fides Service) – About 80 experts on HIV/AIDS, Buddhist monks, Christian priests and nuns, Muslim leaders and Protestant pastors took part in a meeting held at Nonthaburi University situated north of Bangkok to discuss how to cooperate and improve their activity to fight HIV/AIDS from a religious point of view. The aim is to help the operators approach the illness from a religious point of view, to exchange of information and discuss collaboration to support infected persons and to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to Thai Health Department figures presented at the meeting, the number of HIV positive cases registered in May 2003 was 217,989, of these 59,926 died and besides these 290,000 children are now orphans because of AIDS.
The representatives of the different religions attending the meeting presented their methods of action. The Buddhist representatives said their community focuses on the moral formation of youth to prevent the spread of AIDS. The Protestant church workers said they have set up a network to visit patients at home and spread correct information about HIV/AIDS. A Catholic spokesman said the local Catholic Church began a campaign to eliminate HIV/AIDS in 1990 and it co-ordinates this activity in the 10 dioceses in Thailand. The participants agreed to form an Ad Hoc Committee to work together at the local and national levels. AP (Fides Service 30/7/2003 EM lines 21 Words: 240)