HIV workshops day 2

Participants at a Catholic networking meeting in Vienna before the International Conference on AIDS. Credit Caritas Austria

Today’s group of participants is a little different than on Friday as some more participants have arrived in the meantime. The workshops I manage to attend to are “Ethical issues” and “Children and HIV and AIDS”.

Ethical issues

In this workshop, the presenters examined both the theological principles and values that should serve as the foundation of individual and social decision-making related to approaches to HIV prevention and other programming.

They also examined some of the issues and dilemmas that confront people who are living with or affected by HIV – such as issues of prevention of the sexual spread of HIV, assuring that resources and funding are made available on an equitable basis, regardless of where a person lives or what socio-economic background the person is from.

The special vulnerability of women and children was discussed. Participants debated the difficult challenges of integrating the values and teaching of the Catholic Church with the real-life, everyday situations, especially those over which some people do not have complete control.

Children and HIV and AIDS

In this workshop Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Moscow presenting their work. Many HIV-infections are due to drug abuse.

Some statistics. In 1991 93% of HIV infections in Russia were by drug abuse, nowadays 40% are by sexual transmission.

A big issue in Russia as well as in the Ukraine is stigmatisation and discrimination. Many HIV-infected children are abandoned by their mothers and there is an increasing number of orphans. Orphans, children of drug-abusers and people living with HIV and AIDS are strongly rejected by society.

A lot of the work of Caritas is therefore focused on changing behaviour and enable social integration of orphans. Caritas Moscow works with the staff of state institutions where HIV-infected children are still separated from others.

Caritas Vorarlberg presented their “HAART for children” campaign. This international campaign promotes the development of ‘child friendly’ dosages and formulations of anti-retroviral medication for use with children living with this virus.

There was little time left for discussion but everybody seemed happy to get to know other realities and share experiences.

Summary: A good preparation for the congress that is going to start tonight and a  lot of input for just two days of sessions.

“One of the difficulties of such workshops is that – as always – we get so much input and there is so little time to discuss it”, a participant says.

And, in fact, one often ends up getting the feeling that there is never enough time to share everything and discuss everything. But there is also a feeling that through these networking sessions people get motivated as they see others experiences.

And this gives strength to move on in “fighting” against HIV and AIDS together.

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Filed under Advocacy, Austria, Europe, Health, High-Level Meetings and Events, HIV & AIDS

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