Local and Community News
Boston: Church Will End AIDS Ministry
May 27, 2003
Falling victim to budget cuts, the Catholic Church's 15-year-old Office of AIDS Ministry in Boston is slated to close at the end of June, said program director Sister Zita M. Fleming. The office, which was started by Cardinal Bernard F. Law in 1988 and joined with Catholic Charities in 1995, currently runs four residential shelters in the Boston area for AIDS patients and also coordinates education programs at schools and parishes.Adapted from:
Fleming said the shelters -- in Brighton, Roxbury, Lowell and the Fenway area -- will continue to operate, accommodating 70 people at a time. Individual residences will now be responsible for helping patients obtain long-term economic, psychological and medical assistance, she said. The Haitian Multi-Service Center in Dorchester, which has offered some of the program's services, will also continue to operate.
But, said Fleming, the church will stop coordinating speaking and educational efforts at schools and parishes after the office shutters. Fleming, a 71-year-old former classics professor and dean at Regis College, frequently traveled to schools to speak about AIDS. She decided to leave a year ago and has spent much of the last 12 months preparing the programs to be decentralized.
Fleming said the decision to close the office was made six weeks ago. She did not know the program's exact budget -- funding comes from the Archdiocese of Boston, Catholic Charities, and government grants -- but said she thinks it was in excess of $100,000.
Larry Kessler, founding director of the AIDS Action Committee in Boston, said he is particularly worried that the educational outreach program will discontinue. "We tend to forget we have a new generation that needs to be educated," he said. "There is a perception that it's all conquered," Kessler said of the epidemic. "In some ways, AIDS has gone underground again."
05.22.03; Wendy Davis
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.