Dr. Miguel H. Diaz, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, calls the cooperation of the United States and the Church in the fight against AIDS "one of the most relevant in the global fight against the virus." This collaboration is credited with being able "to reach even poorest and most isolated areas of the planet."
In a letter published on the Italian Episcopal Conference's Avvenire news agency website, Diaz recognized the "great steps" that have been made in the world's struggle against the HIV epidemic in the last 25 years. He cited World Health Organization estimates that put the figure at 4 million people, the number of individuals in developing countries currently with access to anti-retroviral drug treatments.
Cooperation with the Catholic Church and its extensive network of sanitary assistance has been instrumental in reaching these people, he wrote.
Collaboration between the Holy See and the U.S. government extends beyond “fieldwork.” In November of this year, the Church and the American Consulate teamed up to educate other “partners” on the issue of pediatric AIDS in an international conference designed to "encourage greater collaboration between governments, NGOs, and religious organizations to prevent mother-child HIV transmission."
"We've already begun to see positive outcomes of the conference and we're expecting more concrete results shortly," said Diaz, who was appointed to his position in May by President Obama.
The ambassador added that the United States pledges "to continue working together with its world partners, among them the Holy See and the many organizations tied to it, to break through the many barriers that are still in our path."
"On this World AIDS Day, the United States is glad to recognize its collaboration with the catholic organizations in the global effort to combat AIDS."
Under the Obama administration, the Vatican and the U.S. have found themselves at odds over AIDS prevention.