Church in India Launches Anti-AIDS Campaign

NEW DELHI, India, SEPT. 12, 2003 (ZENIT.orgFides).- The Catholic bishops’ conference of India has launched a nationwide campaign to coordinate efforts to alleviate the suffering of an estimated 4.5 million HIV-positive sufferers.

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The Church in India runs 5,000 hospitals, 62 nursing schools and 200 rehabilitation centers.

According to the secretary of the bishops’ pastoral commission on health care, this is the first organized response to fight AIDS. Project organizers say the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in India could rise to 8 million by 2010.

«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, through fidelity in marriage, promotion of Christian values, and respect for the dignity of every person; and commitment, by eliminating discrimination against people suffering from HIV/AIDS, and guaranteeing aid for their social rehabilitation. The program also aims to eliminate sexual exploitation of women and children.

The bishops hope to involve every member of the Church — clergy, religious and laity — in the campaign. They also call on Catholics to support efforts in the struggle to fight AIDS undertaken by the government and nongovernmental organizations.

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