India praises churches in AIDS work

By on May 1, 2007

A child suffering from HIV/AIDS rests with her mother during a recent protest against a drug manufacturer in New Delhi. The Indian government and United Nations officials recently praised Christian churches for their care for those affected by HIV and AIDS.

New Delhi
The Indian government and United Nations officials have praised the minority Christian community in the world’s second most populous nation for its dedicated care for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, and for its work to combat the pandemic.   

“You are our star players. You are doing wonderful service in the fight against AIDS,” said Sujata Rao, director general of the Indian government’s National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). Her accolades came during the final session of a recent seminar in New Delhi focusing on the response of churches to AIDS in India.   

More than 150 participants attended the conference organized by the healthcare commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India with the support of the New York based-Catholic Medical Mission Board and UNAIDS.      

Assuring government assistance to the church’s service to ostracized HIV victims and their families, Ms. Rao noted that, “HIV-affected people respond to drugs much better when they get care and love.”   

The church is the single largest non-governmental HIV and AIDS care provider in India, with more than 2,000 beds in dedicated centres.  

According to UNAIDS, India has the largest number of HIV-infected people with an estimated 5.7 million cases, more than South Africa’s 5.6 million cases. NACO, however, puts the figure at 5.2 million HIV cases in India.

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