“Finally, after 14 years of debate and delay, lawmakers [in the Philippines] passed a bill that will provide free or subsidized birth control to poor people as well as require sex education in schools and mandate training in family planning for community health workers,” a Los Angeles Times editorial states. “For too long in the Philippine Congress, the priorities of the Roman Catholic Church took precedence over what most Filipinos wanted — and needed,” the editorial states. “The Philippines has one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia, and is also one of the most densely populated countries,” the editorial notes, adding, “It cannot produce enough food to feed its 96 million people.”
“Although circumcision’s effect on protection against HIV is clear — three studies have shown a 60 percent reduction in risk to men — as a public health strategy, it is fraught with caveats,” the Washington Post reports. Though uncertainty exists about the degree of protection the procedure provides, especially for specific groups such as men who have sex with men, and “[m]any ethnic groups have strong cultural traditions against the procedure,” “many AIDS researchers and advocates view it as a strategy that needs far more promotion since it provides some protection to men having sex with infected women,” according to the newspaper. The article includes a summary of data and studies on circumcision (Brown, 7/25).
In this Washington Post opinion piece, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., examines the role that Christians have played in the global effort to eradicate AIDS, noting the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) is being held in Washington, D.C., this week. “Two decades ago, no one would have predicted that Christians would so quickly change their response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic from criticism to compassion,” he writes, and provides a history of the Christian response. He concludes, “As thousands gather for the International AIDS Conference this week, with the end of AIDS in sight, let’s focus on our role and responsibility as Christians in continuing this important work until we truly achieve an AIDS-free generation” (7/25).
In this post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Eric Bond, managing editor of Bread for the World — a Christian anti-hunger organization — examines the role of PEPFAR in the global AIDS response, writing, “Progress against HIV/AIDS has been a remarkable achievement in which diverse communities worked together to apply political pressure, find funding, conduct research, and share tactics,” and “U.S. foreign assistance programs like [PEPFAR have] provided support to tens of millions of people through prevention, treatment, and care.” He continues, “As the International AIDS Conference continues this week in our nation’s capital, it is worth reflecting on the part that Bread for the World members have played in fighting AIDS through their support of U.S. foreign assistance programs like PEPFAR,” and “it provides a reminder of the importance of keeping such assistance in the federal budget” (7/25).
“The International AIDS Conference [AIDS 2012] was full of talk of hope and best practices, but no one was giving details on how to reach an ‘AIDS-free generation,’” GlobalPost correspondent John Donnelly writes in this post in the “Global Pulse” blog. “Still, this conference, like many before it, had several key moments when it was clear that the world of AIDS had changed,” he adds, and highlights a summit of faith groups organized by Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church and held on the sidelines of the conference. “Saddleback’s work in Africa follows what it calls the PEACE Plan, which stands for planting churches that promote reconciliation; equipping servant leaders; assisting the poor; caring for the sick; and educating the next generation,” he notes.
A two-day gathering in The Hague of religious leaders to discuss the role people of faith can play in the fight against HIV/AIDS concluded Tuesday with a pledge to prevent discrimination against those living with the disease, the Associated Press reports.
Opinions: The Pope And Condoms; Fighting HIV/AIDS In South Africa; Malaria Eradication Or Control; Health Care Workers; Foreign Aid In Haiti
Religion, Public Health Need To Respect Role Played By Other Reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s recent statements regarding the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV, Michael Gerson writes in a Washington Post column: “No effective AIDS prevention strategy can ignore the role of condoms â€“ or the…
“Delegates to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women are racing to reach a consensus deal on a final document by Friday, and some diplomats say the future of the commission — a global policy-making body created in 1946 for the advancement of women — is at risk…
“Halfway into their two-week annual meeting, delegates to the Commission on the Status of Women fear they will not be able to agree on a final communiqué, just like last year,” a New York Times editorial writes. “Delegates and activists are pointing fingers at the Vatican, Iran and Russia for trying to…
“The Taliban have halted an annual polio vaccination campaign in a remote part of Afghanistan, according to a senior official, raising concerns that opposition to the critical immunization drive could be spilling across from insurgent groups in neighboring Pakistan,” the Guardian reports. Tamim Nuristani, governor of the remote Nuristan province, said…