God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

IAS conference 2017

Fragments of thoughts and impressions

It is my first IAS conference I have attended and compared with the World Aids conference it is a smaller crowd: round about 6000 people from all over the world coming in Paris together to discuss developments in the fields of HIV and Aids.

The first impression is that the conference is much more academic and discerning – it feels that most talks and presentations are indeed on a much higher academic level then at local Aids Conferences or the big world conference.

I am staying at a hotel outside Paris in Nanterre a commune in the Hauts-de-Seine department, the western suburbs of Paris. It is located some 11 km north-west of the centre of Paris. It feels strange – and from the beginning I can feel people have to live in a way which does not support human interaction – it feels cold, just doing the job of housing people without consideration on the human desire to live in a nice and friendly environment. It’s a sort of shock for somebody living in South Africa – it is strange but it feels like as soul-less place. The hotel is situated on top of a commuter train tunnel and station – every now and then one can feel the coming and going of a train while laying in bed.
So I guess all is there to sustain living and working, there are high rising buildings and all kind of services, but the thought I take with is that I can understand such suburbs create problems and even violence.

The mix of people here is amazing – mostly and certainly from the African region of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco – it feels non-European in a European way – figure it out what it means.

And travelling to the conference centre – using the train and the metro – being part of a huge crowd in the morning and evening entering and exiting the dark alleys of the underground world – being part of the endless movements of people pushing their way through the crowd to reach their daily destiny – it is breath-taking – but not in the usual sense of the word. I definitely recall all my blessings living with some space and lots of day light in South Africa.

The conference itself is for a non scientific person sometimes difficult to follow – but I guess it is not about the exact details of every molecule one has to understand, the sheer feeling of understanding the principle – the idea behind all the details – the sometimes keen thoughts and trials and errors are a fascinating mental adventure – it stimulates my brain and forces me to read and study and “google”  – I have to admit that is a great experience to be beamed for a while into an environment really challenging you on knowledge and understanding.
But I believe that people running organisations must have at least a grasp about the background work done and the driving forces behind new developments before they reach the grass-root scene to be put into practice. Fruitful communication, bridging the gap between science and grass-root as HOPE Cape Town is trying to achieve on a daily base means for those in charge constant learning and communication with all spheres of their work environment.

Last but not least it was great meeting people from other countries and engaging in discussions – learning from each other and about each other and feeling the compassion of trying to rid the world of a viral onslaught. And yes, there is of course also lots of business – lots of calculation, but even there, you very often sense that those being employed in the big pharmaceutical companies understand that there is humanity needed in business. The connectivity of the global village, the threat that a virus can easily come and bite those far away helped indeed to change some of the attitudes which governed such entities a decade ago. Surely there is still lots to optimize and clarify – a balance must be put into place between commerce and humanity but I guess the battles of treatment have brought some clarity and movement into the field. Well, a watchful eye seems to be always necessary when it comes to that topic.

I will leave Paris tomorrow with lots of new understanding about the work done in the laboratories of this world. I leave proud knowing that our very board member of HOPE Cape Town, Prof Mark Cotton co-chaired the CHER study which produced one of the most published results of the conference: the child for 9 years in remission after being treated as a baby. I leave motivated knowing how many people dedicated their lives and career to fight back a pandemic which brought so much death and sorrow onto human mankind. It simply feels great to be part of a movement which has the goal to end a pandemic and give people a chance to live life and sexuality without fear. To live and to love to the utmost in their lifetime.

The only question I was wondering – how many other priests or clergy have been to this conference – not that it really matters but it would be nice to know that more of my fellow brothers are engaged on this level in a matter of live and death for millions in this world.

 

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Cape Town is developing…

Tomorrow is the Annual General Meeting of the HOPE Cape Town Association, the working arm of HOPE Cape Town which consists of two arms: aforesaid HOPE Cape Town Association which is combining all the project work on the ground and HOPE Cape Town Trust, which is leading in fundraising and marketing of the work done. Together with the German AIDS Foundation, the HOPE Cape Town Trust has a common “child”, called HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung, a dependent trust governed by German law.  To complete the picture the HOPE Cape Town family has also very close relatives:  the Kuratorium Deutschland, which relates to the HOPE Cape Town Trust and is looking together with Viola Klein to support the HOPE Gala Dresden (26.10.2013). The Freundeskreis HOPE Cape Town Trust Olching e.V. is another German and Bavarian support group of the HOPE Cape Town Trust. Not to forget HOPE & Future e.V. in Münster (Germany), which is an essential part of our supporting family. And we HOPE to give birth in the near future also to an US American entity relating to HOPE Cape Town.  And locally our brainchild is also the Ball of HOPE together with the Southern-African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, next year taking place on the 11th of May 2014.

There is the idea of spreading the word about the “friends of HOPE Cape Town” and if you think, you can get some people together forming a small group supporting the goals of HOPE Cape Town, then feel free to contact me for further information. HOPE Cape Town depends like any other public benefit organization on the support of many – so HOPE Cape Town understands itself as much more than a local organization – we are a network of people trying to better the lives of South African’s living with HIV and TB and everything related to it.
Sometimes I am asked why TB and why we not concentrate on HIV? The answer is very simple: TB is the twin-sister of HIV in South Africa and to combat only HIV would not making sense. They are interlinked, and so are the other social problems attached to it. Studies have shown that poverty, unemployment and unfavorable conditions lead to early death even if treatment is available. So there is so much more to HIV and AIDS. And there is so much more to do – whatever we can do as HOPE Cape Town depends on resources, manpower and funds. We have grown to 31 employees and our portfolios range from the vegetable garden in Blikkisdorp to academic research @ the University of Stellenbosch. It will depend on the ongoing and additional support of people like you, the reader of this blog, whether we can enhance our work and do more to give people hope and future.  We are willing to go the extra – mile; come and join us in one of the many ways possible:

* Donation: All our donation options are summarized on our website under donation

* Tell friends about HOPE Cape Town and ask them to have a look at our website

* Maybe you consider to donate to capital (Zustiftung in German language) and make you money work for a good cause for eternity…
* Find a circle of friends to become ambassadors of HOPE – we can assist you in this…

* Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Cause, share the links and stories and follow us

For all donations and donations to capital applies in Germany and South Africa: We are able to issue a tax-deductible receipt for the respective county.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 28th, 2017
73 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 5th, 2018
8 months to go.

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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