Monday, November 17, 2008

Cardinal Rodríguez on World AIDS Day 2008

“Greater leadership on HIV is still needed as we mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Despite some progress, HIV is a major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The pandemic causes incalculable human suffering. It threatens the social and economic infrastructure of the human family. More needs to be done.

“Children will be a key focus for Caritas in 2009. A third of adults who need them now receive the necessary anti-retroviral medications to live longer and better lives. But only 15 percent of children living with HIV get these essential drugs. Many die before their second birthday. Pharmaceutical companies and governments must show leadership by developing child friendly medicine for HIV and improving testing. We will be campaigning to prevent further loss of these vulnerable children.

“On the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, I am immensely proud of the leadership of Caritas Internationalis, its 162 members and their Catholic Church partners in response to the HIV pandemic. Together, we provide a large proportion of all HIV healthcare in developing countries. We advocate at all levels for an end to discrimination and policies that are sensitive to the needs of those most vulnerable to the pandemic. Part of the essential “capital” of the poor person is good health. We will remain committed to raising those assets.”

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