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Catholic Church in Brazil launches campaign against AIDS

26. October 2009

    Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) – The Catholic Church in Brazil is preparing a campaign against AIDS which will also include testing and preventative measures. The President of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, Bishop Geraldo Lirio Rocha, and the Health Minister of Brazil took part in a meeting to launch the “Pilot Program” for the distribution of information on the pandemic. Brazil, the most populous Catholic country in the world, with 190 million inhabitants, has established a prevention and treatment program for AIDS, considered in reference to the World Health Organization. The project that has recently been announced is being coordinated by the Pastoral Department for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and will begin in Manaus, in the Amazon Region, in Fortaleza (northeast), and in Porto Alegre (south). According to a member of the Pastoral Department, if this experience has positive results, it will be established in all the nation's parishes. One of the objectives of the program is to make Catholics aware of the risk of AIDS. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/10/2009)

    Catholic Church urges AIDS testing in Brazil AFP

    BRASILIA — The Catholic Church said Thursday it will launch a campaign in Brazil urging early testing for AIDS, despite maintaining its opposition to government incentives promoting condom use.
    The effort seeks "to make the population aware of the risks of AIDS and, if a positive diagnosis is found, to start treatment as soon as possible," said Luiz Carlos Lunardi, a spokesman on the church's efforts on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
    The national campaign will be based on a test program already underway in five Brazilian cities, and will include testing for syphilis, the Brazilian National Confederation of Bishops said.
    The confederation and Brazil's health ministry will jointly launch the undertaking.
    This show of unity in the country with the largest Catholic population in the world comes after several clashes between the government and the church over the use of condoms, which have been shown to be effective in curbing the spread of HIV.
    "The churches pray, and we work to reduce the number of cases of illness," Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said recently.
    The Brazilian government intends to hand out 1.2 billion condoms this year as part of its policy for family planning and the reduction of sexually transmitted diseases.
    Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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