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Monday, January 30

Your Tax Money Is Going To Religious Groups

One quarter of the $15 billion alloted to AIDS went to religious organizations who tout abstinence rather than condoms in Africa. Many of these religious organizations have no experience in AIDS education.

Conservative Christian allies of the president are pressing the U.S. foreign aid agency to give fewer dollars to groups that distribute condoms or work with prostitutes. The Bush administration provided more than 560 million condoms abroad last year, compared with some 350 million in 2001.

Secular organizations in Africa are raising concerns that new money to groups without AIDS experience may dilute the impact of Bush's historic three-year-old program.

Condom promotion to anyone must include abstinence and fidelity messages, U.S. guidelines say, but those preaching abstinence do not have to provide condom education.

The abstinence emphasis, say some longtime AIDS volunteers, has led to a confusing message and added to the stigma of condom use in parts of Africa. Village volunteers in Swaziland maintain a supply of free condoms but say they have few takers.
Did you get the part about conservative christians not wanting money to go to AIDS groups that work with prostitutes or give out condoms. Does this mean that they want those people to die? Out of all the AIDS patients in the world, 60% of them are in Africa. Those missionaries are sure doing a bang up job.

Furthermore, in another article: Botswana Adopts Radical Approach to HIV

GABORONE, Botswana - When Botswana first offered free AIDS treatment, health authorities in one of the world's most infected countries braced for a rush of patients. It did not happen.

It turned out that most people were so afraid of the deadly disease, and the frequent social ostracism, that they did not want to know if they were infected.


Doctors here believe pulling patients aside for special counseling is intimidating and helps fuel the stigma that keeps patients from seeking help.

"In fact, we found that people who had not made their minds up quite often were definitely against it once the pretest counseling was done," said Dr. Howard Moffat, medical superintendent at Princess Marina Hospital in the capital, Gaborone.

Africans think because AIDS was initially a gay disease in the US, it carries a terrible stigma. Most AIDS patients in Africa are heterosexual. Botswana gives out free medicine to patients, but there weren't many takers because less than 10% of those with HIV even know that they have it until it's too late. Now HIV testing may become mandatory when someone visits a doctor. More women are takers than men. Early testing is important because HIV can be treated in many cases. The article didn't mention whether or not they had sex education or christian missionaries in Botswana.

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