World AIDS Day, observed each year on December 1, is an opportunity for people around the world to come together in the fight against HIV, to show support for people with HIV, and to remember those who have died from an HIV-related illness. This year's World AIDS Day observance marks the 40th anniversary of when the first cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC). In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, many Catholic priests, sisters and health care workers courageously stepped forward to provide compassionate care to HIV patients amidst a climate of fear and uncertainty about the disease.
In this CHA conversation, Michael J. O'Loughlin, an award-winning journalist and national correspondent for America Media will share his reporting on Catholic healthcare's response to AIDS. Michael is the host of the podcast "Plague: The Untold Story of AIDS and the Catholic Church," and the author of the upcoming book "Hidden Mercy – AIDS, Catholics and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear." Joining Michael in the conversation will be Sister Michele O' Brien, CCVI, Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who will share her perspective on caring for AIDS patients. Dennis Gonzales, PhD, CHA's senior director, Mission Innovation and Integration, and Paulo Pontemayor, CHA's director, Government Relations, will moderate the discussion.