Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta is a young Sister of the Holy
Family d’Isiro-Wamba and a midwife who was murdered
resisting the sexual demands of a rebel leader in the Congo
in 1964. St Aloysius Gonzaga is a young Jesuit who
selflessly gave his life caring for victims of the deadly
plague in Rome in 1591. We entrust the African Jesuit AIDS
Network to their prayer and protection.


CIRCLE OF LIFE

Despite high awareness about HIV and AIDS, the Government of
Malawi found that the rate of actual behavioural change
among Malawians was very low. In “A Call to Renewed Action,”
the Government exhorts all of its citizens to action against
the scourge. FAMLI valiantly and effectively answers that
call. FAMLI (FASU Consultancy & Maternal Life International)
runs an AIDS Cultural Change Programme (CCP), aimed at
rooting out HIV and AIDS at all levels of society in Malawi.
Richard Cremins SJ is the founder and executive director.
The FAMLI AIDS CCP is a holistic approach, designed to
influence those at risk of infection so that they make
informed and life-giving decisions. Though FAMLI is a faith-
based organisation, “everyone is welcome” in its
participatory methodology which can be used by religious
groups, …


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THE PASSION OF CLAUDE

Claude is a little boy whose parents died of AIDS. He was about eight years old when I first met him. Every day, he would rattle the gates at the Sisters’ place: “Sister, Sister…” The
nuns took him in along with the children to whom they gave a meal to fight kwashiorkor (a severe form of malnutrition). They also tended to a wound that would not heal. He was like a skeleton.

His family could not take care of him: his aunt was already caring for several children and was herself in poor health. Claude and his younger brother went to live with them. We tried to help her to care
of him, but Claude became more and more of a vagabond. Finally the streets became his home, and his family threw him out.

On the street, it became obvious that he also had AIDS himself.
Rumours spread that he was a ndoki (sorcerer), a wicked spirit that brings bad omens and that everyone flees like the plague; he was said to have caused the death of his parents, and his family rejected
him completely. Many would chase him away; sometimes throwing stones at him. He …


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“Those suffering with HIV/AIDS
need and deserve the same attention which our biblical tradition
requires for “the orphans, widows and strangers in your midst,”
that is, a response which conveys God’s preferential love for
them.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, selfless Jesuit martyr who aided victims of
the deadly plague in 1591, is the patron saint of those with
HIV/AIDS, of those who care for them, and so of the African Jesuit
AIDS Network.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network is a new effort to respond to
HIV/AIDS by developing an appropriate social ministry that is
deeply-rooted amongst those who suffer, that accompanies those who
care for them, that is sensitive to the local culture, faith and
spirituality, and that collaborates widely with others.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network was set up on 21 June 2002
by the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar as an important common
priority and work. The goal is three-fold:

  • First, in each African country where Jesuits are, to encourage
    and help them to respond to HIV/AIDS by bringing those involved
    together into a taskforce or working-group which can develop
    responses appropriate to the local circumstances.
  • Secondly, to bind these national working-groups, step-by-step,
    into an effective continental Jesuit network

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We have a twofold task this afternoon: to deepen our understanding of just how susceptible young people are to the risk of HIV infection, and as we do so to identify
actions we could take in our home countries to reduce that susceptibility.

The AIDS Generation

Some months ago, in what
amounts to a severe judgement on modern society, a major publication referred to today’s young people as “the AIDS generation” (Kiragu, 2001, p.1). The young are people who have never known a world
without AIDS. They are people who are themselves extremely susceptible to HIV infection, with a significant number of them having already progressed to full-blown AIDS. With some 12 million young people
being infected with the disease, almost one-third of those currently living with HIV/AIDS are aged 15–24 (UNAIDS, 2001a). In some countries it seems possible that more than a third of the 15 year-olds
will die of AIDS-related illnesses in the coming years. For countries with high rates of infection the prognosis is even worse. In Zimbabwe, it can be expected that half the 15-year old boys born in
1997 will die of AIDS before they reach the age of 50 (UNAIDS, 2001a, pp. 23–24), while


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Despite apparently positive steps made
recently to pacify the Burundian conflict which has dragged on for
over a decade, in mid-July fighting suddenly flared up in the
southern parts of the capital Bujumbura with rebels of the National
Liberation Forces (FNL) shelling the city. Amnesty International
condemned what it calls grave violations against fundamental human
rights committed by both the government forces and the armed rebels
during the fighting. According to Amnesty, unless preventive
measures were taken immediately, the governmental troops would
likely take indiscriminate reprisals against the civilian population
suspected of actively supporting the rebels or being their
accomplices.

The main theatre of war and the
surrounding rural districts are precisely where JRS (Jesuit Refugee
Service)

operates its AIDS Project. During June and July, a theology student
at Hekima College (Nairobi), Niku Ekom SJ from Nigeria, had his
placement in Pastoral Field Work in Bujumbura. Serving as
acting-director of the AIDS Programme, Niku bravely turned down the
chance to be evacuated with other international staff. Instead,
during the 7-13 July shelling of the capital, he stayed to suspend
the activities of the AIDS Project temporarily and free the dozen
AIDS workers to help thousands of inhabitants who fled the …


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St. Aloysius Gonzaga is a young Jesuit who selflessly gave his life caring for victims of the deadly plague in Rome
in 1591. Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta is a young Sister of the Holy Family d’Isiro-Wamba and a midwife who was murdered resisting the sexual advances of a rebel leader in the Congo in 1964. We entrust
the African Jesuit AIDS Network to their prayer and protection.

UN World Population Projection: The 2002 REVISION and the Impact on AIDS

From the 60s until the early 90s, demographers predicted a world population of over 10 billion in the year 2050 with expressions like
“population explosion” and worries about the earth’s “carrying capacity.” During the late 90s a lowering of fertility was noticed, however, not only in developed countries but also in developing ones
which had earlier shown no signs of major fertility reduction.

Note that population projections are estimates based on
assumptions of existing data. They are like the estimates that a driver makes, based on the speedometer, regarding how long it will take to reach the destination, and as present conditions change (more
traffic, bad weather), the estimated time of arrival gets revised. Similarly, depending on the current data, the UN


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Those suffering with HIV/AIDS need and deserve the same attention which our biblical tradition
requires for “the orphans, widows and strangers in your midst,” that is, a response which conveys God’s preferential love for them.


St. Aloysius Gonzaga is a young Jesuit who selflessly gave his life caring for victims of the deadly plague in Rome in 1591. Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta is a young Sister of the Holy Family and a midwife
who was murdered resisting the sexual advances of a rebel leader in the Congo in 1964. We entrust the African Jesuit AIDS Network to their prayer and protection.

AJAN – the African Jesuit AIDS Network was set up on 21 June 2002 by the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar as an important common priority and work. AJAN is a
new effort to respond to HIV/AIDS by developing an appropriate social ministry that

  • Is deeply rooted amongst those who suffer and accompanies those who care for them;
  • Promotes responsibility and prevention;
  • Joins in the struggle against stigma and discrimination;
  • Is sensitive to the local culture, faith and spirituality; and
  • Collaborates widely with others.

The steps foreseen are three-fold:


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Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta is a young Sister of the Holy
Family d’Isiro-Wamba and a midwife who was murdered
resisting the sexual demands of a rebel leader in the Congo
in 1964. St Aloysius Gonzaga is a young Jesuit who
selflessly gave his life caring for victims of the deadly
plague in Rome in 1591. We entrust the African Jesuit AIDS
Network to their prayer and protection.


PROMISES AT BANGKOK

At the previous International AIDS Conference (IAC) in
Barcelona in July 2002, the competition between preventing
HIV and treating those with AIDS was set aside, with
everyone agreeing that both prevention and care were equally
needed. This month in Bangkok, about 17,000 AIDS researchers
and activists attended the 15th such conference, the largest
global gathering to discuss the disease. AIDS has already
killed 20 million people and currently some 38 million
around the world are HIV+, 25 million of them in sub-Saharan
Africa. It is impressive to see so many leaders, scientists
and activists assembled around the HIV/AIDS challenge and
yet, unfortunately, they do not give the impression of
uniting in the needed common effort. “Bangkok has to be the
end of promises made, promises broken,” Graça Machel
declared.

The prospects …


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The first African Jesuit AIDS internship took place
for one month, June 15 to July 15, in Nairobi at the AJAN
Documentation Centre. Four of us African scholastics were invited to
participate: Paterne A.
Mombe and Serge
Lorougnon
of the West African Province, Brian Banda from
Zambia-Malawi Province and Michel S. Kamanzi
from the Rwanda-Burundi Region. Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ, AJAN
Coordinator, supervised our many activities — reflection, research,
discernment, accompaniment and insertion with respect to HIV/AIDS.


The AJAN Documentation Centre is housed in flat 8,

Riara

Lane. It consists of a single large room equipped for research
(library, computers and video equipment). This is where Brian,
Paterne and Michel spent most of their
day, sitting at their desks. By contrast, Serge engaged largely in
field work. All of us gathered every evening with Father Michael and
often with Fr. Masawe too (Provincial of
East Africa) to celebrate and share the Eucharist. After this
central moment of our day, we continued our fraternal sharing with a
community supper in flat 6, where Father Provincial, his
socius and Fr. Victor
Odhiambo live. After a long day of work,
we filled these evenings with long and lively discussion. In
addition, every Tuesday


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Ludwig Van Heucke, S.J.

In the late 1990s, UNAIDS started to publish indicators showing that the fight against HIV/AIDS
in Uganda was finally beginning to bear fruit. Those highly advertised figures, however, are controversial. To start with, analysts have claimed that the estimates of the initial infections in the late 1980s were unreliable, incomparable and inflated as too many Ugandans were declared as “aids
patients” without an hiv test. With overblown bottom-line indicators, it was argued, it is easy to demonstrate high success rates. Similar critiques were heard with regard to the UNAIDS figures of Aids-related orphans. The WHO eventually admitted, “In the Uganda enumeration study, no distinction
was made as to the cause of orphanhood, which in some areas included the effects of war.”

In 2000, UNAIDS understood the slight fall in infections to be probably a result of two factors. “On the one hand, the epidemic in many countries has gone on for so long that it has
already affected many people in the sexually active population leaving a smaller pool of people still able to acquire the infection. At the same time successful prevention programmes in a handful of African countries, notably Uganda, have reduced national infection


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