Catholic Church fights AIDS in Malawi

religion | Dec 06, 2014 | By Martin Barillas

“There is widespread participation in Malawi on the annual day for the fight against AIDS” . So said Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, a Catholic missionary who has worked in the Malawi for several decades. According to the Fides news service, he said of the December 1 World AIDS Day, “The main goal of much discussion and much planning is still ‘Getting to Zero’: no more AIDS infection, no more AIDS casualties, no more discrimination. ” 
 
“Since 1985 when Malawi registered its first case of AIDS, various different situations have changed, health services and assistance have certainly improved. However the battle is not won, the fight continues” said Fr. Gamba.
 
In observance of Advent, the Catholic Health Commission of Malawi reported that 10.3% of Malawi’s population is HIV positive, a drop from the 16% of past years. Currently, 1,100,000 Malawians are HIV positive and of these 170,000 are children. In 2013, AIDS killed some 48,000 people (170 every day), while the country has 790,000 AIDS orphans.
 
“Although the number of HIV positive children is dropping (thanks to a major prevention campaign); although the number of casualties is diminishing; although today 83% of HIV positive Malawians receive anti-retroviral medicine (compared to 63% in the past), 80% of AIDS transmission happens in the family with a stable relationship. The number of HIV positive young people is increasing and more than half the HIV positive persons are females aged 15 and over ” the missionary said. 
 
“It is the family and family fidelity which will win or will lose the battle with AIDS. The Synod for the Family in this area faces a tremendous challenge and demand for commitment” said Fr. Gamba. “Malawi free of AIDS would be different: no AIDS orphans, no overcrowded hospitals unable to cope with so many patients, but above all a generation of citizens in a condition to contribute towards the wellbeing of the nation.”

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