New Delhi (Fides Service) – The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India has launched a major nation-wide campaign to coordinate efforts to alleviate the suffering of an estimated 4.5 million HIV positive Indians. The Catholic Church in India makes a considerable contribution to providing health care with its 5000 hospitals, 62 nursing schools and 200 rehabilitation centres.
According to the Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Health Pastoral, due to meet in Bangalore next week, this is the first organised response to the challenge of AIDS. The project organisers stress that if infection continues at the present rate, by 2010 the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers could rise to 8 million. “Aware of the seriousness of the problem, we saw the need to take concrete measures of information and treatment to address and prevent this threat”, the Commission statement reads.
Central points of the campaign are: prevention - fidelity in marriage, promotion of Christian values, respect for the dignity of every person; elimination of sexual exploitation of women and children; commitment: eliminate discrimination against persons suffering from HIV/AIDS; guarantee assistance for social rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS sufferers.
In this major nation wide campaign the Bishops hope to involve every member of the Church, clergy, religious and laity. They also call on Catholics to support efforts in the struggle to fight AIDS undertaken by government and NGOs. PA (Fides Service 10/9/2003 EM lines 25 Words: 306)