25 years of Haus Emmaus, 30 years in the service of Iris – Südtirol News

Leifers – For 30 years Caritas has been supporting and accompanying people with HIV or AIDS and has been managing the Haus Emmaus residential community in Leifers for 25 years. While the topic has largely disappeared from the public eye, prejudices against those affected sadly have not. “Today the disease can be treated well medically, life with HIV and AIDS is possible. But scientific progress must also be followed by social progress ”, said the director of Caritas Franz Kripp at a press conference in the garden of Haus Emmaus on the occasion of the two anniversaries of service.

“For those who had been infected with HIV or AIDS in the 1990s, that meant a certain death sentence. At the time it affected a particularly large number of young people. The Iris service was created in 1992 to alleviate the psychological suffering of these people and help them cope with the approaching death. Five years later, Caritas founded the residential community in Haus Emmaus to provide medical and human care to the sick there “, recalled the director of Caritas Franz Kripp of the beginnings of the two services, quoting Goethe:” Here I am a person, here I am allowed be myself “.

Since the first volunteers completed their training, the Ministry of Iris has accompanied over 1,500 people, provided more than 5,000 hours of individual therapy, organized training courses and developed a network of relationships together with the Emmaus House. In turn, in these 25 years about 200 people have been hospitalized at Haus Emmaus, including men and women who are carriers of the virus or who were or are already sick. There, an individual project is developed for everyone, which responds to the specific experiences and needs of the person concerned.

Since the beginning, the two services have collaborated closely with the Infectious Diseases Department of the Bolzano Hospital, as Dr. Emphasizes Elke Maria Erne, head of the department. She also stated that the introduction of antiretroviral therapies has led to a significant improvement in the quality of life of HIV-positive people. “With AIDS no longer defined as a deadly disease but as a chronic disease, the focus on HIV has changed significantly. This has the negative effect that too little is said about the topic, while the risks are still great, “says Primarin.

Furthermore, there is still a strong stigma linked to contracting the HIV virus, expressed not only medically but also in the form of prejudice. “We have gone from the morbid visibility of the first days with great media coverage to invisibility. Both lead to exclusion and this is precisely what we try to counter with our work ”, explains psychologist and psychotherapist Pierpaolo Patrizi, who manages the Iris service. The support of the volunteers is extremely important, as the volunteer Iris Fera Franceschini testified in a press conference with her stories.

The need to speak openly about infectious diseases to combat disinformation and forms of exclusion was also underlined by Katiuscia Cabras, director of Haus Emmaus. “For us at Caritas this means openly approaching the affected people, listening to them and responding to their ever-changing needs. Although we continue to accompany those affected in their last stage of life, we also guide them towards life, taking into account the social aspects for the sick and doing everything possible to create positive experiences for our guests, ”says Cabras. She therefore hopes to be able to offer more activities again after two and a half years of the corona pandemic, which will facilitate meetings between the guests of the facility and the company. Such an event took place, for example, on 11 June with a garden party to which all interested parties were invited. The exchange with the schools should be resumed and for the pilgrims who walk up to Maria Weißenstein (the pilgrimage route starts from the house of Emmaus) it is planned to set up a small refreshment again, as in the times before Corona.

“Finally, I would like to thank all the volunteers and staff of the two services who have worked hard in recent years to fight prejudice and promote the social inclusion of people living with HIV or AIDS. Also fundamental is the close collaboration and networking that Iris and Emmaus have established not only with the infectious disease department of the Bolzano hospital, but also with the addiction counseling rooms, the mental health center and the office for external prisons (Uepe). “, underlined the head of the Caritas office Danilo Tucconi, the good networking of all the actors.

From: bb

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