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26/11/2010

RomeReports.com
Catholic Organization's battle against AIDS endures as virus spreads in Africa

 

November 22, 2010. This woman is just one of nearly 100,000 patients being helped by DREAM. She endured the negative effects of HIV for four years, before she found the Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition program launched by the Catholic organization, the Community of Sant' Egidio. It wasn't until she was reduced to a mere 64 pounds and her body was covered in lesions that she was taken to a DREAM clinic, where she received Anti-Retrovirus Therapy for free. After that, DREAM personnel picked her up for her appointments in a car and gave her rides back home.


Within four months she was well again, and able to shop at the local market. Her neighbors were shocked to see her. They thought she was dead.

Prof. Leonardo Palombi
Scientific Director, DREAM
“The biggest challenges is beating this terrible disease.  Many people ask why do you try to cure AIDS and not tuberculosis or malaria that kill millions of people? It's because AIDS was the only illness able to reverse the life expectancy in Africa.”

Catholic Church agencies such as Caritas and Sant' Egidio are among the world's top providers of HIV care in the world, and represents a quarter of all HIV care in the worst-hit continent of Africa.

One of DREAM'S biggest accomplishments has been preventing the transmission of HIV and AIDS from mother to child with proper medical treatment. DREAM has helped some 10,000 babies be born free of HIV and breastfeed from infected mothers safely.

But there is still more to be done. Africa is a continent with many obstacles in terms of communication, personnel, transportation and technology necessary to combat the virus that threatens the life of about 25 million people.

Prof. Leonardo Palombi
Scientific Director, DREAM
"The health care structure only has a few hospitals, because hospitals cost a ton of money and do not function properly.  A more mobile health service with the ability to reach those in rural areas where even today many people are in need. This is a great challenge for the future. To beat AIDS we need to find a health system that is tailored for Africa."

DREAM has clinics in ten countries and is extremely active in some of the poorest African countries like Malawi and Mozambique.

The organization has 31 clinics and 18 laboratories and has prepared over 3,600 African professionals combat HIV in the continent.

Prof. Leonardo Palombi
Scientific Director, DREAM
“We depend on donors because the cost is tens of millions of euro for many tens of thousands of people.”

Dream has been helped by many private listed companies, such as European banks like Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But Palombi says most donors make a financial commitment for only three to five years and that it is important for people like us to make a lifetime commitment by adopting someone with AIDS.

Prof. Leonardo Palombi
Scientific Director, Dream
“I believe that the biggest help possible is to think about these sick people, these young people, these babies and these women and consider adopting them.”

Today's DREAM is about adopting someone with AIDS, which you at home can do by simply going to their website.

Helping to prolong a family's life costs just EUR20 or 28 dollars per month.