Why Stigma and Discrimination Associated with HIV and AIDS Pose a Challenge Ending AIDS as a Public Health Threat? How has the Church Made Progress in this Regard? 27/11/2015
Published by WEWILLSPEAKOUTSA
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I greet you in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit! For me it is a great honour to join you for this Tenth Forum of the Fundación Eudes, which is organized in partnership with the Coproación Universitaira Minuto de Dios (UNIMINUTO), the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Colombia and the Gobernación de Cundinamarca. I am very grateful to Fathers Bernardo Vergara and René Rey for their kind invitation to share the joy that you rightfully feel as a result of your loving, compassionate, and non-judgemental service significant numbers, some 25,000, of the most vulnerable and needy persons living with and affected by HIV and AIDS here in Bogota and in four other cities of Colombia. In fact, more than twenty years ago, here in Bogota, I visited one of the houses of welcome opened by Fr. Bernardo and often have told others, during my visits Latin America and many other parts of the world, about the love and acceptance that I witnessed there. I also share, however, the sense of challenge, even of frustration, that despite our progress in the bio-medical response to the HIV epidemics, we still face major challenges to resolve the issues of stigma and discrimination to those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, both within the Church and within all of society. Finally, I beg your patience and pardon since I do not speak Spanish well; I learned this language while serving the needs of Cuban refugees in the United States but never formally studied Spanish in school.
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