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Margaret Pirotta, Coordinator Tree of Hope, CatholicCare

  • 05 June 2015
  • Hilton Hotel Sydney

CatholicCare’s Tree of Hope Coordinator, Margaret Pirotta’s presentation at this Business Network luncheon renewed discussion and interest on a topic that still adversely impacts the lives of thousands of Australians today: the devastating effects that is AIDS/HIV on people whether it’s the sufferer, the carer or the loved ones surrounding them.

Margaret mentioned the dangers of the current sense of complacency among us, warning that on a national level, the number of diagnoses is increasing. Margaret lamented that while there has been dramatic scientific advancement, that sadly, the same cannot be said for stigma and discrimination, with the attitudes of many at a global level remaining somewhere between archaic and ignorant.

Through Tree of Hope’s dedicated staff led by Margaret, those affected by HIV are provided a place of support and care, provided with impartiality and without judgement. Tree of Hope aims to give clients their sense of self back, something that unfortunately often gets lost through HIV’s tendency to overwhelm almost every aspect of a person’s life. Through Margaret, guests were given a sobering glimpse of the other health and social issues that impact on peoples’ lives as a result of the virus.

In response, His Grace, Archbishop Fisher OP, called for continued education and tolerance in a world where there are still too many who suffer the stigma and loneliness experienced by AIDS/HIV sufferers. Touching on current media headlines, he also reminded all present that there is still a place for traditional institutions, that our Christian values must be reflected in our openness to accept each other and the love we show for the suffering and the marginalised.