80,000 people die every week globally from HIV-AIDS – Enough to fill Croke Park
Aids Partnership with Africa (APA), today announced that they will be marking World Aids Day with a Candle Lighting Ceremony led by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mr. Andrew Montague.
On lighting the Candle the Lord Mayor Mr. Andrew Montague said:
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to highlight the issue of HIV-AIDS today. This week the Joint United Nations programme on HIV-AIDS, UNAIDS, reported that 2011 was an important year in the fight against HIV-AIDS with new HIV infections reduced by 21% since 1997 and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005.”
“There has been significant reduction and stabilisation in the number of new HIV infections in most parts of the world. This is due to better access to antiretroviral treatment and also due to the work of organisations such as the APA who work with local people in Africa on prevention and care projects and also to educate individuals, organisations and governments. I salute the work of APA in Africa and also its awareness campaign in Irish Schools.”
The aim of this ceremony is to raise public awareness of the aids pandemic and its critical impact on children.
The consequences of the spread of this disease and the lack of treatment are that 80,000 people die every week globally – enough to fill Croke Park every week. As a result of the “lost generation” there are between 14 – 20 million orphaned children; many cared for by Grandmothers, many more living on the streets. Those suffering from the disease are frequently banished from their homes. Sadly, despite these disturbing statistics, this story is not “breaking news” on our Western media.
APA is the only Irish founded charity whose sole focus is on the support of those affected by AIDS and its prevention for the next generation. APA methodology of a multi sectored, grass roots approach has been recognised as “Best in Class” by the United Nations. (www.apa.ie).
HIV-AIDS first came to prominence in the early 1980’s and was then an incurable and frightening disease. The stigma and ignorance surrounding the disease made the crisis all the more difficult to deal with. The Western World has come a long way since then in terms of attitudes towards the disease and treatments for it. Many people diagnosed with the disease in the West now live full lives and have a much more positive outlook.
The situation regarding aids in Africa is very different. An estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV resided in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009, representing 68% of the global HIV burden. East and Southern Africa remains the area most heavily affected by the HIV epidemic.
Out of the total number of people living with HIV worldwide in 2009, 34% resided in 10 countries of Southern Africa. The vast majority of people newly infected with HIV in the region are infected during unprotected heterosexual intercourse. New HIV infections among children due to mother-to-child transmission of HIV are also significant in the region. (source UNAIDS)
Fr. Owen Lambert, Founder of APA said:
“We are hoping that this event, as well as an awareness campaign we are running through Irish Secondary Schools, will raise awareness of the tragedy that is happening every minute of every day and the consequences on the World’s Youth.”
For further information please contact:
Fr. Owen Lambert + 353 86 1036717
John Rice +353 86 8207442
Andy O’Callaghan +353 86 8106247