Speaker says AIDS struggle also helping to beat poverty
The head of the Southern African Bishops' welfare trust will tonight tell a Sydney audience that the resilience some of South Africa's poorest have demonstrated in the face of HIV/AIDS is helping to reverse their slide into deeper poverty.
Mpogeng Mahlangu, Trust Manager of the Siyabhabha Trust - the Development and Welfare Agency of Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference - will deliver a World AIDS Day speech on behalf of Caritas Australia at North Sydney.
"The HIV/AIDS pandemic which has hit our country is indeed a devastating one," she sayd. "Yet through it all there is astounding good news. From each corner of the country come stories of how the poor and marginalized are fighting against HIV/AIDS and related poverty. Some of the poorest are bringing about what the richest have not even started to do - a social movement fighting the struggle against poverty."
However the optimism represents a small bright spot on a much larger canvas. She says five million of South Africa's 46 million people are HIV positive, or living with the virus that causes AIDS>
"There is a lot of denial and stigma from the infected and the affected," she says. Families and the infected do not disclose because they fear stigma and discrimination by society and communities. Mostly people attribute their illnesses and deaths to witchcraft, jealousy, poisoning and some acceptable illnesses such as TB, pneumonia, sugar diabetes and cancer. These are common causes of death in the country."
The lecture is titled HIV/AIDS & South Africa: Through A Woman's Eyes. The public is invited at 6:30 pm for a 7:00 pm start. The venue is the Leone Ryan Auditorium, Level 4, Carroll Building, Australian Catholic University, 40 Edward St, North Sydney.
HIV/AIDS & South Africa: Through A Woman's Eyes - text of lecture (not available online)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia } World AIDS Day
Pope assures AIDS sufferers of his support (Vatican Information Service 30/11/05)
AIDSRelief: working towards sustainable provision of ART (Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference AIDS Office 30/11/05)
Pope: "I feel near to people with AIDS and their families" (AsiaNews.it 30/11/05)
Indian Church to keep its promises in the fight against AIDS (AsiaNews.it 30/11/05)
Pope urges world to continue its fight against HIV/AIDS (Catholic News Service 30/11/05)
Pope avoids condom issue in AIDS message (Leading the Charge 30/11/05)
Tackling the impact of AIDS (Online Catholics 30/11/05)
Australia to mark World AIDS Day (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 30/11/05)
Holy See Urges Media to Be Responsible in AIDS Reporting (Zenit 29/11/05)
Vatican Message for World Day Against AIDS (Zenit 29/11/05)
31 Dec 2005