Anglican Church of Canada Calls for Government To Increase Financial Commitment to Global HIV/AIDS Fight
The Anglican Church of Canada General Synod on Wednesday during a meeting in St. Catharines, Ontario, approved a resolution calling for the Canadian government to increase its financial commitment to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Vancouver Sun reports (Todd, Vancouver Sun, 6/3). The group, which meets every three years, approved the resolution after a speech from U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis during an HIV/AIDS session held as part of the nine-day meeting. Lewis, who is Canadian, told 300 delegates from 30 Anglican dioceses throughout the country that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the world's "greatest threat," according to a General Synod release (General Synod release, 6/2). "There is no moment in human history that matches the force of this pandemic and the toll it is taking," Lewis said, adding, "We are 20 years into this pandemic and the world is just beginning to understand the scale of it" (Harvey, Ottawa Citizen, 6/3). Lewis also said that 30% of the populations of many African countries is HIV-positive, according to the Sun. "The continent is losing people in their most productive time of their lives," he said, adding, "The death spiral has only begun [a]nd these people do not have to die" (Vancouver Sun, 6/3).
According to Lewis, it would cost $10 billion annually to "deal with" HIV/AIDS, the Citizen reports. He added, "This pandemic is not beyond our capacity. It is just the political will that resists it" (Ottawa Citizen, 6/3). The resolution calls for the Canadian government to "lead the international community in increasing access to affordable medicines for the world's poorest" and triple its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to the release (General Synod release, 6/2). The General Synod unanimously passed a resolution calling for the government to increase its contribution to $75 million annually, according to the Sun (Vancouver Sun, 6/3). The General Synod also approved a resolution asking members of the Anglican Church of Canada to "help eradicate stigma and discrimination in our church and society" against HIV-positive people, according to the release (General Synod release, 6/2).