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Jesuit makes Bangkok AIDS presentation for asylum seeker activist

Fr Peter Norden of Jesuit Social Services in Melbourne made a presentation at the 15th International HIV/AIDS Conference in Bangkok on Tuesday, on behalf of Nigerian HIV/AIDS activist, Olawale Olaitan, currently seeking asylum in Australia and being accommodated in a Jesuit Social Services community house.

Fr Norden, Policy Director at Jesuit Social Services, is a member of the Australian Government's Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS. He is one of many Australian delegates, and part of an international team of Jesuit representatives that includes African Jesuit AIDS Network director Fr Michael Czerny, and a moral theologian and physician from the United States.

He said that Jesuits in the Asian region, and their institutions, are facing an "immediate challenge" as the HIV infection level rises in Asia.

Meanwhile Fr Czerny spoke with Catholic News Service about the threat AIDS poses to Africa. He identified poverty as both "a cause and a consequence" of HIV and AIDS.

"Poverty reduces people's choices and capacities and poverty is obviously an enormous obstacle, perhaps the principal one, to access to care and treatment," he said. "Many people in Africa are dying of AIDS because of poverty."

Fr Czerny said churches throughout Africa are "responding creatively and energetically" to the challenge of HIV/AIDS, even though church leaders at times have lagged behind.

"In Africa, the church is doing better than it is speaking," he said. "There is more AIDS ministry going on, of great quality and variety, than you would think from what the bishops are actually saying. The bishops are not leading with their statements, but the people of God are leading with their responses.

"Many bishops don't see clearly how to integrate AIDS ministry into the normal life and work of the church," said Fr Czerny. "That's our current challenge, to integrate it, strengthen it and make sure it reaches every corner of the region."

Bangkok HIV/AIDS Report (Jesuit Social Services 14/7/04)
AIDS in Africa greatest threat since slavery, Jesuit priest says (Catholic News Service 14/7/04)

Church Workers Share On HIV/AIDS Work, Including Frustrations (Union of Catholic Asian News 14/7/04)
Cardinal exhorts media to notice crisis in Uganda (Catholic World News 14/7/04)
Abstinence controversy at world AIDS meeting (Catholic World News 12/7/04)
Caritas advisor says AIDS conference valuing religious input (CathNews 14/7/04)
Abstinence controversy at world AIDS meeting (Catholic World News 12/7/04)
Ugandan President: Abstinence and Marriage to defeat AIDS ( 12/7/04)
Ugandan President stirs AIDS summit proposing abstinence (Catholic News Agency 13/7/04)
HIV Discrimination Rife in Health Profession (Australian Red Cross 13/7/04)
UNAIDS head says churches critical to fight (CathNews 13/7/04)
XV International AIDS Conference, Bangkok
Faith, Knowledge & Care: Promoting Access for All - African Jesuit AIDS Network Powerpoint Presentation
U.N.: Asia Is Becoming the Heartland of AIDS ( 7/7/04)
Catholic Church Leads in Antiretroviral Therapy (Catholic Information Service for Africa 6/7/04)
Austen Ivereigh: Catholics, condoms and Africa
Catholic Church rolls out Aids drug programme (Mail & Guardian 6/7/04)
AIDS conference must live up to 'Access for all' (Independent Catholic News 6/7/04)
Australian AIDS Fund Inc.
Health & Development Networks
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

15 Jul 2004