Sant'Egidio AIDS Project Wins Scientific Award

DREAM Bringing Hope to Mozambique

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ROME, APRIL 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A school of medicine believes that the Community of Sant'Egidio's program to combat AIDS in Africa is the best in the world scientifically.



In recognition of that distinction, the University of Aquila School of Medicine conferred an award for the Drug Resource Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition (DREAM) program run by Sant'Egidio.

Representing Sant'Egidio at the award ceremony at its Rome headquarters was its founder Andrea Riccardi and the scientist who planned the project, professor Leonardo Palombi.

Sant'Egidio sources told ZENIT that the DREAM program, which has become a key element of the Mozambican Health Service, "was born with the objective of bringing together prevention and therapy," based on the "central value of every human life."

Spokesman Mario Marazziti said that 13 AIDS treatment centers have been established in Mozambique under the auspices of DREAM.

According to the World Health Organization, about 16.4% of Mozambique's estimated population of 20 million have contracted HIV. Of the 70,000 in Africa who receive antiretrovirals, some 7,000 are reportedly under the care of Sant'Egidio.

Where the retroviral therapy program has been implemented, the transmission of the AIDS virus from mother to child has been decreased by 97% and has succeeded in contributing to the survival of 90% of people diagnosed with AIDS.

Sant'Egidio, a lay Catholic group, plans to extend its services to Malawi, Angola, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, South Africa and Swaziland.