03 June 2005

Methodist Church backs Kofi Annan's warning on HIV/AIDS

The Methodist Church welcomes Kofi Annan's recent speech reminding the world of increasing rates of infection and death due to HIV/AIDS. This timely warning acts a reminder that, according to the World Health Organisation, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS stands at 38 million, and that only 8-12% of people with AIDS in developing countries have access to the anti-retroviral treatment they need. In addition, only 1 in 5 people worldwide have access to HIV prevention services.

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, said "in the west the development of effective HIV/AIDS treatments has helped many of those infected, which gives the impression to many of us that it is not so much of a problem anymore. But in poorer countries the numbers of HIV infections and deaths from AIDS continues to rise steeply, and many of those who need treatment cannot get it. The effects of this terrible disease only increase levels of poverty, which in turn makes it harder to fund treatment and prevention programmes. As a Church we are committed to supporting HIV/AIDS victims, as well as programmes to prevent and treat the disease and to alleviate the suffering it causes. But both as individuals and as a Church there is more we can do. Achieving the goals of the Make Poverty History Campaign will also help countries to buy necessary drugs, to run effective prevention programmes and to train medical staff."

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