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Opening of HIV shelter for children, Mexico

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Media Release

Media Release

Australia's Ambassador for HIV, Mr Murray Proctor,
Canada's Minister for Health, the Hon. Tony Clement and
New Zealand's Chargé d'Affaires Rachel
Bennett today (6 August) opened a shelter for children living
with HIV in Mexico City.

The shelter, run by the NGO La Casa de la Sal, will house
children who are HIV positive and have no family member to care
for them – either due to economic circumstances or the
deaths of their parents.

Mr Proctor said, "Children are often overlooked in the
HIV response. We know that children suffer the impacts of AIDS
in many ways. Affected children may suffer the trauma of
losing one or both of their parents. HIV positive children may
have to battle ill health or arduous medication regimes. Both
affected and infected children often lose educational
opportunities, face economic hardships and experience stigma
and discrimination."

The shelter was jointly funded by the Australian, Canadian
and New Zealand Embassies in Mexico City.
Australia's funding was provided through the Direct Aid
Program (DAP) which targets small-scale development activities
in 75 countries around the world.

Australia's Ambassador to Mexico, Katrina Cooper said,
"The Direct Aid Program provides us with the opportunity
to make a real difference to disadvantaged people, such as the
children in the La Casa de La Sal shelter."

The Australian government has also provided funds to a
short-stay shelter for HIV patients in Xalapa, Veracruz. This
shelter run by the NGO Juntos Contra el VIH/SIDA, supports
poorer Mexicans from rural areas in accessing treatment.

The DAP invests in education programs for the prevention of
transmission of the virus and to fight the discrimination and
stigma associated with the illness.

The facilities at the NGO CIFAM (Colectivo de
Atención para la Salud Integral de la Familia) in Tuxtla
Gutiérrez, Chiapas, were upgraded for these programs.

Mexico City is currently hosting the XVII International Aids
Conference which brings together more than 20,000 delegates
from around the world to discuss HIV treatment and prevention.
High profile attendees include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
and former US President Bill Clinton.

Media Enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison - 02 6261

Last Updated: 14 January 2013
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