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

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

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life andSocial Justice, said "in the west the development of effectiveHIV/AIDS treatments has helped many of those infected, which givesthe impression to many of us that it is not so much of a problemanymore. But in poorer countries the numbers of HIV infections anddeaths from AIDS continues to rise steeply, and many of those whoneed treatment cannot get it. The effects of this terrible diseaseonly increase levels of poverty, which in turn makes it harder tofund treatment and prevention programmes. As a Church we arecommitted to supporting HIV/AIDS victims, as well as programmes toprevent and treat the disease and to alleviate the suffering itcauses. But both as individuals and as a Church there is more wecan do. Achieving the goals of the Make Poverty History Campaignwill also help countries to buy necessary drugs, to run effectiveprevention programmes and to train medical staff."