Tag archives: AIDS

What’s Missing on World AIDS Day?

by Peter Sprigg

November 30, 2012

December 1 is “World AIDS Day,” so both of Washington’s newspapers—the liberal Washington Post and the conservative Washington Times—featured stories on the worldwide AIDS epidemic.

The Post report focused on the promise of the latest generation of antiretroviral therapy. The Times article dealt with the efforts to expand circumcision of men, in the wake of scientific findings that this, too, can help reduce spread of the disease.

But what was missing?

In both articles, there was not a word about men who have sex with men (MSM).

And in neither article did the word “condom” appear a single time.

In the United States, men who have sex with men continue to be the group at highest risk for infection with HIV (overseas, heterosexual transmission is relatively more common). Yet the idea of fighting AIDS by discouraging the sexual conduct most likely to transmit it is completely taboo.

And at one time, condoms were considered to be THE answer to the AIDS epidemic. If we could just get men to use a condom every time, for every act of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal), then we would beat the disease. This has proved easier said than done.

Two newspaper stories are a very limited sample. Yet they may be suggestive of two important realities.

The condom crusade has failed; yet we remain unwilling to encourage people to just say no to the sexual activity with the highest risk.

World Aids Day: A message of hope and behavioral change

by Family Research Council

December 1, 2011

Its World Aids Daya time to unite in the fight against HIV and commemorate those who have died of the disease.

Political parties will vehemently disagree on the precise tactics and funding levels required to address this horrific disease. But in a refreshingly bipartisan event this morning, President Barack Obama made the following comment:

As we go forward, we need to keep refining our strategy so that we’re saving as many lives as possible. We need to listen when the scientific community focuses on prevention.

My good friend Suzanne Taylor just released a film that tells the moving story of the treacherous AIDS epidemic in the African country of Botswana. The Road We Know documents what a small group of college students are doing to encourage prevention.

In Botswana, 1 in 4 people adults has HIV/AIDS. But while the government has done everything the Western world has encouragedlike handing out condoms and offering free testingthe formula has clearly failed.

Desperate for a solution, the government invited a small group of college students to help save their generation with a message of hope and behavior change.

In the films trailer, the student leaders share an upbeat message across the country—a message that sex is good and that abstinence isnt only possible, its life-saving. As President George W. Bush remarked in his 2004 State of the Union Address, Abstinence … is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

In a 2010 report, UNAIDS could point to a 25 percent drop or more in new infections for young adults ages 15 to 24 in 15 of the most infected nations—primarily due to sexual behavior change. This confirmed that story documented in Botswana was not an isolated trend.

Now thats a message of hope and change. The kind we should all believe in.

To watch the film or host a screening, visit www.theroadweknow.com.

To connect with Evangelical or Catholic AIDS ministries, check out FRCs Real Compassion website at www.realcompassion.org.

Medical Advances Wont End AIDS Without Behavioral Change

by Peter Sprigg

November 23, 2011

It was encouraging to read Michael Gersons column in The Washington Post recently on scientific advances which raise the prospect of Putting AIDS on the road to extinction. He is right to say, Religious conservatives have no objections to treatment and are neither shocked nor alarmed by circumcision.

However, he ignores two huge elephants in the room. The first is the role of behavior change in reducing infections. A Ugandan AIDS prevention official wrote in the Post in 2008 about his countrys success in dramatically reducing AIDS prevalence through use of the ABC messageAbstain from sex until marriage, Be faithful to your spouse, and use Condoms only if you fail at A and B. Gerson celebrates that the cost of treatment is now less than $350 per person; but Sam L. Ruteikara noted, Our successful ABC campaign cost just 29 cents per person each year.

Gerson noted that circumcision has reduced the risk of transmission from women to men, and that early treatment reduced transmission to a heterosexual partner. This may be encouraging for Africa, but is less so at home, where the CDC reports that more than half (53%) of all people living with HIV are men who have sex with men (MSM), the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily. Discouraging anal intercourse and sex with multiple partnerspractices not unique to homosexual men, but more prevalent among themare part of the only morally acceptable strategy to help America share in the end of AIDS.

NYT: Contraceptive Use Increases HIV/AIDS Risk

by Family Research Council

October 4, 2011

The New York Times ran a stunning story yesterday “Contraceptive Use May Double Risk of H.I.V.“, about a new study published today in the Lancet showing that hormonal contraceptive use is strongly correlated with an increased vulnerability to contracting HIV/AIDS.

The study was conducted in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the region most impacted by HIV/AIDS in the world. Three thousand, seven hundred and ninety serodiscordant couples (one partner is HIV positive and one is not) participated in the longitudinal study running for six years, from 2004-2010. The bottom line? Women who used hormonal contraception had a “two-times increased risk of acquiring HIV.” Additionally, women who were using hormonal contraceptives were significantly more likely to transmit HIV to their partners.

The NYT reports that the World Health Organization is convening a meeting in January to review the latest research about the relationship between hormonal contraceptives and HIV/AIDS vulnerability and review if/how current recommendations require revisions.

For more information click here.

Concerned Parent and Former Girl Scout Leader Explores GSA Relationship with Planned Parenthood and other Pro-abortion Groups

by Family Research Council

September 23, 2010

Back in March C-FAM broke the news that the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) and their parent organization, World Association of Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), distributed Planned Parenthood sex education brochures — for HIV positive youth — during a meeting for young people at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Soon after, C-FAM documented the well-established relationship between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.

Mariellen Rechtin is a concerned parent and former Girl Scout leader from Ohio who, deeply troubled by the C-FAM reports, began to conduct her own research into the relationship between Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts.

Below are clips from Mariellen Rechtins research on the Girl Scouts, as well as links to the sources:

Since the 1990s the Girl Scouts organization (both GSUSA WAGGGS) has migrated in a more radical, feminist, new age direction. Consider: 1) God being made optional in the Oath; 2) various cases of Planned Parenthood invited to do badge work in councils around the U.S. 3) Radical Feminist, pro-abortion, and lesbian speakers such as Charlotte Bunch, Kavita Ramdas, and Dr. Johnetta Cole receiving awards or speaking at conferences 4) the activist involvement by the World Association of Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) at the United Nations.

Most telling about the Girl Scouts position on the issues of sexual education, contraception distribution to adolescents and abortion are the words posted on the WAGGGS website for the Commission on the Status of Women conference. It states:

We demand access to comprehensive sexuality information, services and supplies for all young people. We need it today and today needed to be yesterday. The young people from more than 20 countries and every continent collectively demand their sexual and reproductive rights:

  • All young people must have access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and emergency contraception….
  • Accessible, affordable and safe abortion should be made part of the minimum package of sexual and reproductive services.

When this page is compared to the same coverage of the same day at the conference on International Planned Parenthood Federations webpage, one will note that the text and photograph are identical.

In some of its badge requirements, WAGGGS clearly is encouraging a permissive sexuality protected by condoms. Consider the AIDS badge which lists as requirements drawing male and female bodies and identifying the body fluids capable of carrying HIV, visiting a Family Planning Clinic, demonstrate putting a condom on a finger or other suitable device, etc. An Adolescent Health Badge was developed by WAGGGS and Family Health International as a two year pilot program for eventual availability around the world.

On the GSA website, there is also the Our Rights, Our Responsibilities Patch . Under Section 1, The Right to be Me, there is a link to the UK Childrens Rights Web site which encourages a Red Ribbon Party for AIDS. One of the suggestions for the party is cake sale, and it even encourages the making of a condom cake (NOTE: the link worked in April, but was removed a few months later).

A reasonable person could conclude that while WAGGGS/GSUSA may not force its position on any individual troop or Girl Scout in the U.S., it has clearly chosen to take a stance on the issues of sex education, contraception and abortion.

WAGGGS as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partnered with the UNFPA, which has a mission to make contraception and abortion available to young people world wide in order to prevent HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy, the goal being to improve health and reduce poverty.

More recently, WAGGS endorsed and helped to develop the Guantajuato Statement (NGO Position Statement) that emerged from the World Conference on Youth, in Mexico City in August, 2010. The statement included the following: (entire document can be found here)

We demand governments…guarantee the rights of young people including…the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights

We commit…to continue working to achieve development through…evidence based comprehensive sexuality education to achieve Millenium Development Goals (MDG) 5 and 6 Note: Evidence based comprehensive sexuality education is sex education that understands that there is no such thing as telling a teen not to have sex and then thinking that they are actually going to listen to you.

We commit…to continue working to achieve development through…Guarantee the full realization of the highest level of physical mental and social health for young people…above all the target lagging farthest behind, MDG 5b Universal Access to Reproductive Health by 2015. Note: MDG5b is all about contraception access for all young people, safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education.

We commit…to continue working to achieve development through…Fully recognize young peoples sexual and reproductive rights, particularly the right to choose, through achieving universal access to confidential, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services including access to evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education, in informal and non-formal settings. Implement key effective interventions in the continuum of care for maternal health, including access to a full range of contraceptives and safe abortion. (emphasis mine)

We commit…to continue working to achieve development through…that Governments recognize LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transsexual) as part of the spectrum of gender identities and ensure that young people that identify themselves as such have their Human Rights upheld.

Mariellen ultimately came to the conclusion that her family could no longer be involved with the Girl Scouts. Moreover, she now believes that some agendas promoted within the GSA are incompatible with a Christian worldview.