Skip to content

If AIDS Isn't Combated, 'Africa Will Disappear'

Interview With a Director of Sant'Egidio Community

MADRID, Spain, MARCH 4, 2005 (Zenit) - Treating AIDS patients in Africa is much different from dealing with those in Europe, says a director of the Peace Missions of the Rome-based Community Sant'Egidio.

The community has worked for a decade to eradicate AIDS in Mozambique. Its success in that country has enabled it to extends its endeavors elsewhere in Africa. Over the past four years, a project has been under way to combat maternal-offspring infection. Here, Jesús Romero explains the project in this interview.

Q: How did the Sant'Egidio Community begin to combat AIDS on Africa?

Romero: With the advent of anti-retrovirals in 1996, the Sant'Egidio Community was keen to have the medical advancements in Europe, which made the sickness virtually chronic but not necessarily mortal, arrive in Africa. Added to the fact that it is not right that a part of the world is deprived of these medical advancements because of lack of material resources.

We have been involved in effective anti-retroviral therapy for four years. Now we are taking this health project also to Malawi and Guinea-Bissau. Mozambique was the first country because we knew it well, as we took part in the mediation for peace in that country.

Q: What has your work been like during these years?

Romero: It is a difficult struggle, but one that can yield great fruits. We first treated the sickness only through medication, that is, with the European system, but we realized right away that our line of work in Africa had to be different.

Q: What is the essential difference between Europe and Africa in regard to the treatment of AIDS?

Romero: The essential difference is that in Europe the AIDS patient, in general, has his basic needs taken care of, meaning by this his food, medical checkups, family care, and even health itself. In Africa, the people who come to our centers lack health, food, etc.

Because of this, we think that the struggle against AIDS in Africa must be approached from a global and not just a pharmacological view of the person.

Therefore we have established a global approach to AIDS, which includes health agents visiting patients in their homes, supplying food, supporting the family and, of course, free therapy.

Q: Among your criteria is the rejection of condoms as a preventive measure against AIDS; in fact, your centers don't supply condoms. Why?

Romero: No epidemic in the history of medicine has been overcome by prevention. In all honesty, we think that the way to prevent it is by curing, facilitating the test, and furnishing the means so that patients start medicating themselves, because to date the rest of the measures provided have proved insufficient or don't work.

The problem begins when a person arrives with HIV symptoms. We do the tests and, if the sickness is confirmed, we start treatment immediately.

After a few months, when the person has recovered his health, and is living an almost normal life again, then the fears and taboos about the illness begin to disappear and he has the confidence to talk to others.

Several women who have been helped by the institution have formed an association. They go around the villages explaining the way HIV is transmitted. They have even succeeded in taking their partners to the consultations after convincing them that it is not an illness exclusive to whites.

Q: Is there some information in your experience of struggle against AIDS in Africa that could be applied in developed countries?

Romero: We describe as "adherence" the number of people who begin treatment and continue it over time. We have an adherence of 95-98%, this means that the people who come to our center, who feel supported, covered from the medical, social, and psychological point of view, make progress.

This is an example not only for Europe but for the rest of the world, and an indication that AIDS is an illness that must be treated in a global manner, not just from the strictly medical and pharmacological point of view.

Q: Will AIDS be defeated?

Romero: Our criterion in therapy in Africa is the supply of medicines to pregnant mothers and newborn children. We already have 1,000 children who have been born healthy from seropositive mothers.

We think that the birth of one healthy generation in Africa will guarantee the survival of this continent, because if there is no success in curing the sick and having healthy children being born, Africa will disappear.

In addition, we have a data bank that is being put at the service of research, which will also be useful when a vaccine is obtained, for Mozambique to be among the first countries to have it.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Africa, AIDS, HIV, Medical, Church, Sex

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.