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Say Anything

December 2002

Say Anything

We say that prevention ... is called chastity.
Monsignor Javier Lozano Barragan, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers, reiterating on November 6, 2002, the Vatican's stance that abstinence is the only way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, as reported by the Associated Press. Barragan went on to express the Catholic Church's criticism of viewing sex as a recreational act separate from procreation.

Public and private partners in Ghana are showing a commitment to a new way of doing business. The Global Fund will give them the resources to take effective programs to scale and to ensure comprehensive responses to diseases of poverty.
Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in a November 22, 2002, press release announcing the Global Fund's first ever grant agreement: a total of US$6.5 million for a variety of projects in Ghana that will treat 2,000 people living with AIDS and 20,000 people living with tuberculosis. Another agreement that would have sent US$12 million to Tanzania, and was to be the nearly one-year-old Global Fund's first grant, was put on hold earlier the same week after the Tanzanian government insisted that the funding would have to be administered through its finance ministry, rather than the ministry of health, as the Global Fund requires. According to the press release, the Global Fund is negotiating agreements with 39 other countries that were approved for funding in its first proposal round.

The message is clear -- give us your money to fight AIDS, Mr. Gates, but don't raise any uncomfortable questions.
From a November 11, 2002, Times of India editorial, one of several from Indian newspapers that criticized the Indian government, and Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha, in particular, for their response to the country's AIDS epidemic. Sinha accused Bill Gates and the U.S. Ambassador to India of unjustifiably "spreading panic" about the epidemic, even while accepting a US$100 million donation for fighting the disease from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recent reports have predicted that India could have as many as 25 million people living with AIDS by 2010; the Indian government has stated that such estimates are serious overstatements.

African societies' capacity to resist famine is fast eroding. Hunger and disease have begun reinforcing each other. As daunting as the prospect is, we will have to fight them together, or we will succeed against neither.
Alex de Waal, director of Justice Africa and an adviser to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and UNICEF, in a November 19, 2002, New York Times guest editorial. De Waal described how AIDS exacerbates famine because it disproportionately affects working age adults who could otherwise provide food; prevents parents from passing on famine-coping skills and acquired economic assets to their children; and increases a community's total nutritional requirements because HIV-infected people need more calories and protein to fight off the progression of AIDS.

[N]owhere has [UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's] leadership and foresight been more important than in marshalling the international community against the biggest problem that we have on the face of the earth today, and that's the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell speaking November 12, 2002, at the United Nations Association of the USA Visionaries Awards Dinner in Washington, DC. The dinner was the setting of a tribute to Annan.

If George Bush spent more time and money on mobilizing Weapons of Mass Salvation (WMS) in addition to combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), we might actually get somewhere in making this planet a safer and more hospitable home.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University (New York) in a guest opinion piece for The Economist. The article called on the United States to make a higher priority of fighting poverty and disease abroad, and argued the United Nations and its constituent agencies are the best vehicles through which to wage such a fight.

The AIDS epidemic claimed more than 3 million lives in 2002, and an estimated 5 million people acquired the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2002 -- bringing to 42 million the number of people globally living with the virus.
The first sentence of AIDS Epidemic Update, a biannual report of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The report was released November 26, 2002, in advance of World AIDS Day 2002.

Back to the December 2002 issue of IAPAC Monthly.

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