“Greatest challenge of today's generation”

Catholic organizations and institutions from Western Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand want to improve their networking in the fight against AIDS and strengthen their exchange of experience. It is particularly important to identify and publicize the best approaches and successful practical examples, said Andreas Wenzel of Caritas International on the occasion of World AIDS Day on 1 January 2009. December. – UN Secretary General Annan has called for more money to fight the "greatest challenge of today's generation". – UNICEF warned in this site interview of waning attention to HIV threat. Especially in Eastern Europe.

Reorientation of the work of the Catholic network On Thursday, the Aids Funding Network Group, founded in 1992, was renamed the Catholic HIV Aids Network (CHAN). The network brings together 23 initiatives, including national Caritas associations from Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Australia and the United States, as well as aid organizations such as Renovabis, Missio and Misereor.The background to the renaming is also a reorientation of the network's work. Fundraising for AIDS projects is playing an increasingly minor role among church organizations, as an ever larger share of the $9 billion in annual global funding available to fight AIDS is distributed through major international institutions such as the UN, the EU and the U.S. government. The aim of the network is therefore to exchange more experience about AIDS prevention and the care of people with HIV/AIDS and to pass on scientific findings.Catholic organizations share the view that HIV/AIDS is not a purely medical problem, but must be tackled holistically. The psychological, spiritual, social, economic and health consequences of the disease must also be taken into account. The fight against AIDS is therefore a cross-cutting task that must be embedded in development projects, pastoral work and humanitarian aid, he said.

UNICEF: Especially in Eastern Europe the danger of AIDS is growing UNICEF warns of waning attention to HIV threat. "The world's sharpest increase in new infections is taking place on our doorstep," the UN Children's Fund said Thursday in Cologne, Germany. On the occasion of World AIDS Day on Friday, it presented a new study on street children in Ukraine. This year alone, 270.000 people infected with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is an increase of almost 70 percent compared to the same year in 2004.Nearly a third of newly diagnosed infections affect young people between 15 and 24, UNICEF says. Among children and young people living on the streets, the HIV virus is transmitted almost unchecked through drug use and sexual violence. But medical treatment and AIDS testing are hardly accessible to this high-risk group, it says. The aid agency estimates that several hundred thousand children and adolescents growing up without a home in former Soviet Union states are at extreme risk of contracting HIV.

"Little knowledge" According to UNICEF, the example of Ukraine shows how quickly the virus can spread from high-risk groups to the general population. The percentage of people who became newly infected through heterosexual contact rose from 14 percent in 2003 to more than 35 percent in the first six months of 2006, the study says. The percentage of people infected with HIV is the highest in Europe, at 1.5 percent of the Ukrainian population, he said. It is estimated that a quarter of the approximately 377.000 HIV-infected people there are young people under 20 years of age.UNICEF expressed concern about adolescents' low knowledge of AIDS. Two-thirds of young people in developing countries do not have sufficient information about protection options. Even in Germany, he said, it is becoming more difficult to reach young people. Together with UNICEF, former U.S. President Bill Clinton calls for greater vigilance, openness and solidarity in a television ad on World AIDS Day. In it, he appears with "Kami," the HIV-positive character from the South African version of Sesame Street that educates about AIDS.

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