Press Release: Kampong Kapor Methodist Church takes initiative to organise seminar to raise HIV/AIDs Awareness

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Kampong Kapor Methodist Church at 3 Kampong Kapor Road has taken the initiative to organize a seminar to raise the awareness of HIV/Aids on September 29, 2007 from 3pm to 6pm. This is the first time that the church is having such an event in the face of the alarming pandemic to issue this call to the Christian community to deal with HIV/Aids.

The Guest of Honour is Senior Minister of State Dr Balaji Sadasivan who is in charge of the government’s programme on HIV/Aids will give the Opening Address. Dr Donald E Messer, Executive Director of the Center for the Church and Global Aids will provide the global perspective about the disease and the programme of the global church to fight the pandemic. He is the former President of Iliff School of Theology in the United States . Ms Braema Mathi, Vice-Chairman of Action for Aids, will give us the Singapore scene in the battle against Aids especially on the impact on women and children. She is a former Nominated Member of Parliament here. The seminar is presided by Mr Hsieh Fu Hua.

The seminar will consider the causes, prevention and treatment of HIV virus. It will discuss the ways to be of service to the victims of Aids and their families. More importantly it will involve in formulating an educational programme on HIV/Aids.

Those who wish to attend this important seminar are requested to register by calling 6293-7997 or email Please call the same number of further information.

Dr Donald E Messer is a United Methodist theologian and author of twelve books. He is currently the Executive Director of th Centre for the Church and Global AIDS catalysing Christian involvement in the major issues related to global HIV and AIDS, world hunger, and clean water. Messer is both president emeritus and the Henry White Warren Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at The Illiff School of Theology. In 2005 he was honoured with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from a medical university in India for his humanitarian work.

Ms Braema Mathi is the Vice-President of Action for Aids. She is a National Council of Social Services Board Member and currently works as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute of South East Asian Studies. Ms Braema was the Founder-President of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC 2), an advocacy and research group that look into the issues of migrant workers and current Chair of its Research and Policy sub-committee. She is also a Past President of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and current Chair of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) sub-committee. Ms Braema has been a journalist, a teacher, a head of Corporate Communications in the healthcare industry and has served two terms as a Nominated Member of Parliament.

At the 8th International Congress on Aids in Asia and Pacific held last month in Colombo, Sri Lanka the World Health Southeast Asia Regional Director declared: "In the Asia-Pacific region, we are at high risk of a massive spread of HIV," At the same congress the UNAIDS Asia-Pacific Regional Director reported: "The harsh reality is that the grim march of the epidemic in our region continues unabated,"

UNAIDS estimates 5.4 million people were living with HIV in the Asia Pacific region in 2006, with anywhere between 140,000 and 610,000 people dying from AIDS-related illnesses.

This is the world's second largest number of people living with HIV. The sub-Saharan Africa has has the largest number with 25.8 million people infected with the virus. One important new finding is about the way the virus has spread in the heterosexual community which started among injecting drug users in the 1990s, moved on to sex workers, from there to male clients and their faithful wives and then to children. Young women and girls in Asia are being trafficked as sex workers and they carry a high HIV/AIDS risk.

Economic growth and improvements in infrastructure have created greater wealth and mobility, but have also promoted HIV infections. In Asia the virus is being transmitted also by wealthy men, often after having unprotected sex with prostitutes and passing the infection to their wives and children.

The Singapore Ministry of Health has reported that there were 357 new Aids patients in 2006 and 222 were transmitted through heterosexual sex. Three in four people infected are heterosexual. The upward trend of new infections continued unchecked. The budget for Aids education has been increased to $4 million this year.

The stigmatization of HIV-positive people and conservative social attitudes are hindering the efforts to fight the disease. In confronting HIV/Aids it is necessary to mobilize various sectors of the community to address the issue.