25 Jul 2007

Catholic bishops say people with HIV/AIDS should not be shamed and blamed

3:05 pm on 25 July 2007

Catholic bishops around the region say they do not want to see people with HIV/AIDS shamed or blamed and plan to teach communities to approach the issue in a Christian manner.

At their annual conference in Samoa, the issue of HIV/AIDS is on the agenda for the first time.

The secretary-general of the conference, Father Roger McCarrick, says the key message for the Bishops to take away will be to focus on compassion.

He says the plan is to establish a Christian atmosphere in which people can live so that if they're afflicted by any disease, they and their communities can deal with it and care for each.

Father McCarrick says HIV/AIDS is a big issue in other parts of the world and this region needs to be prepared.

"Now, it has come in to parts of the Pacific, especially Papua New Guinea, and we want to try to be pro-active and be prepared just in case there is a serious outbreak of the epidemic here in these countries of the south and north Pacific."

Father McCarrick says they will leave the medical aspects and the prevention message to others who are already talking about it.