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Caritas, UN sponsor conference on AIDS

Catholic World News - February 26, 2014

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has joined UNAIDS in sponsoring a conference devoted to increasing access to anti-HIV treatment.

Speakers include UN staff members, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja (Nigeria), and Kenneth Hackett, the United States’ ambassador to the Holy See.

“A lot of progress has been made in combating the disease, but now it’s time to reinvigorate and review and lay a clear plan forward for what it is that faith-based organizations, the churches, governments, and other agencies can do together for the future to eliminate this disease,” Hackett told Vatican Radio.

“In the beginning, 25 years ago, governments just didn’t see a role for faith-based organizations, it was ignorance,” added Hackett, who previously served as president of Catholic Relief Services. “They didn’t know the nuns were running that hospital where the big Land Rover couldn’t even get down the road, and it was in that hospital that the nuns were able to reach out to the people … So now there is a recognition that you have to look holistically at this problem, you have to reach it from a lot of different angles and the collaboration between governments and faith-based institutions, effectively supported, must be the future.”

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