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Church alarmed at toddlers' HIV/AIDS

Archbishop calls for more awareness, special clinics at health centers

Church alarmed at toddlers' HIV/AIDS
Archbishop Petrus Turang of Kupang
Albertus V. Rehi, Kupang

March 29, 2011

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An archbishop has voiced alarm at recent cases of HIV/AIDS among children under five in East Nusa Tenggara province, and has asked local authorities to open voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) clinics at all health centers. “Since HIV/AIDS began to spread in this region, the Catholic Church has called for everybody to be alert and to move fast in dealing with the issue,” said Archbishop Petrus Turang of Kupang. “These recent cases, however, indicate that HIV/AIDS is spreading through families,” he said. The prelate was responding to a recent statement by Husein Pancratius, the secretary of the province’s commission for HIV/AIDS prevention, who revealed 40 new cases in children under five over the last two years in 17 of the region’s 21 districts and municipalities. The archbishop said local people should not be oblivious to the fact that if an infected husband passes the disease to his wife, she will pass it on to her unborn child. “So there are 40 babies, 40 mothers, and 40 fathers that are infected. It means 120 people are living with HIV/AIDS,” he continued. He called on local authorities to open a VCT clinic in every health center in the region. “More VCT clinics mean more people have access to counseling on HIV/AIDS. Therefore, we can deal with these cases in a better way,” he said. IS13789.1647
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