Indian Catholic News

Catholic Religious vow to end HIV in Goa

Sister Crina Cardozo said HTF's plans include working to reduce stigma associated with the infection and promoting HIV testing.

 
Panaji: 

The Goa chapter of Conference of Religions of India, a forum of various religious congregations, on Sunday decided to work together to end human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the state by 2030, an official said.

Father Paul Alvares, head of CRI- Goa Chapter, said Catholic got together to discuss the response from the community to HIV in Goa on the sidelines of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, organised by Human Touch Foundation (HTF) at Margao, reported the Hindu newspaper.

HTF founder Peter F. Borges welcomed the move saying religious leaders’ interventions could have massive impacts because of their considerable presence and reach.

“The church can help shape government policies and advocate better access to healthcare,” he said. The church is a powerful agent to change individual beliefs and values.” He called for faith leaders to set examples and shape attitudes about HIV.

HTF is represented in the Global HIV Strategy Group and International Reference Group of Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, an initiative of the World Council of Churches, a global network of churches and related organisations committed to campaigning for justice and dignity.

Sister Crina Cardozo said HTF's plans include working to reduce stigma associated with the infection and promoting HIV testing.

She said faith leaders should demonstrate to the faith community that HIV does not need or deserve stigma.

Further, she called on faith leaders to preach sermons about the importance of testing and treatment, in order to prevent discrimination within their communities.

Sister Lourenca Marques said faith leaders have a key role to play in increasing access to HIV testing and treatment, breaking silence and stigma, promoting human rights and building bridges between people and communities.

During the dialogue, participants addressed the realities of how stigma and discrimination are perpetuated both in religious communities and the larger society.

Source: The Hindu


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