February 2, 2005
Government Reaction, Tshabalala-Msimang Meeting
According to a health department statement released on Tuesday, the South African government "respect[s]" the bishops' opposition to promoting condom use as a means of HIV prevention but added that the "government is responsible for the health of all South Africa's population, irrespective of their religious beliefs," according to the SAPA/News 24.com. "Government has a responsibility, therefore, to inform South Africans of all the options available to them to prevent HIV infection," the health department said, adding, "Government has further assumed the responsibility to make both male and female condoms available free of charge to ensure that those who prefer this option are not exposed to health risks just because they cannot afford to buy condoms." Tshabalala-Msimang's meeting with religious leaders in the country, which is scheduled for the last week of February, will "seek to create a common understanding of the different roles government and the religious community can play ... to prevent and manage both infectious and chronic diseases," the health department said, adding, "The meeting will also discuss the implementation of a comprehensive plan for management, care and treatment of [HIV/AIDS]. Central to government response ... is a prevention campaign aimed at promoting abstinence, being faithful and the use of condoms" (SAPA/News24.com, 2/1).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2005 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.