Friday, September 07, 2007

Patriarch and U.S. Ambassador Discuss Modern Versus Traditional Methods in Treating HIV/AIDS

This is taken from the US Embassy website in Addis.

Patriarch and U.S. Ambassador Discuss Modern Versus Traditional Methods in Treating HIV/AIDS

May 23, 2007
No. 30/07

His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), and U.S. Ambassador Don Yamamoto spoke to gathered worshippers and members of the media at Entoto Mariam Church in the heights of Addis Ababa today, about the compatibility of Holy Water and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Members of the media at the event met with representatives of an association of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) receiving the dual treatment at Entoto Mariam and at St. Petros Hospital, and discussed with them their views on receiving both treatment methods simultaneously.
Since 2004, the United States government has been working through a variety of local and international organizations to fight HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease – a five-year, $15 billion, multifaceted approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world through programs to prevent HIV infection, and provide comprehensive care and treatment to those affected and infected by the HIV/AIDS virus.
Several PEPFAR partner organizations have been instrumental in furthering the acceptance of ART combined with Holy Water Treatment in and around Addis Ababa. These are the Johns Hopkins University-Tsehai Project, International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, and the Addis Ababa HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO). These organizations have worked to educate Orthodox clergy on the compatibility of ART with traditional cures such as the application of Holy Water to treat HIV/AIDS. In addition, many individuals, including a number of Holy Water recipients, clergy and the Association of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) at Entoto have been instrumental in promoting complementary usage of Holy water and ART.
The leadership of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, including the Patriarch, the Holy Synod and the Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (DICAC), have given their full and unwavering support to the concurrent use of ART and Holy Water. Many educational materials on the subject have been produced and distributed through the church. With this important endorsement, PEPFAR’s faith-based initiative can support a comprehensive approach to HIV care and treatment, including the provision of free ART services to the community at Entoto summit. JHU-Tsehai has opened a chronic care clinic two kilometers from the Holy Water site, and has begun providing anti-retroviral care and treatment services to a growing population of Holy Water recipients, enabling HIV positive individuals who come there to get well enough to return home and continue treatment at one of over 100 PEPFAR-supported ART clinics throughout the country. ?

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