God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The day after…

Graph showing HIV copies and CD4 counts in a h...

Graph showing HIV copies and CD4 counts in a human over the course of a treatment-naive HIV infection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… is a movie called trying to imagine the aftermath of a war with nuclear weapons.
The day after is also a feeling one get’s after the first of December every year. All speeches are done, all ribbons distributed and the press focuses again on other issues while the church hurries to prepare for Christmas. It leaves those working with HIV, living with HIV, struggling for treatment somehow in the limbo till next December, 1st…

But obviously it is not that bleak – and the there is a goal to reach – to cut down to zero new infections but to achieve this, there is a steep way in front of us. It requires all our energy on different levels:

Those in power must shift the money they spend of killing people to research, prevention and treatment; not only of HIV but also other medical and social conditions. It is indeed very much a disturbance to see that for warfare and the kill always money is at hand, while for humanity and the sake of those less fortune, there is always a fight. And the outcome is – compared to the expenses for war preparations – simply laughable. This has to change if we want to succeed.

Those living with the virus must make an effort to live responsible and being an advocate in their own rights. But obviously this can only happen if they have the tools and education to reflect on their situation with adequate knowledge.

There must be room for short and long-term interventions. Churches should stop putting devil and hell onto condoms as this comes as the safest intervention for those sexual active. Instead they can contribute towards long-term strategies of changing human habits. I guess nobody is fond of the idea of a 9-year-old boy having sex. Puberty is coming earlier – that’s also true. So what can we do to bring the ability to have sex and the mindset of responsibility together?

The Global AIDS Fund is the right tool to distribute donations and oversee progress in a global way. Government should stop contravening global efforts in bi-national agreements which put to rest the achievements of global negotiations and multinational agreements.

There is more to strive for and let’s put all our thoughts and energy together to make the world infection free for the start. So that World AIDS Day celebrates the victory of human civilization over a pandemic which threatened and killed millions of women and men, especially those on the more vulnerable side of life.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Significant Court Case in Canada relating to disclosure

English: Statue of Justicia (Justice), by Walt...The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that people living with HIV do not need to disclose their status to partners before intercourse, provided they have a low viral load and a condom is used. The decision, issued early October, addresses two cases heard by the court in February 2012 regarding a 1998 ruling concluding that people living with HIV who fail to

their HIV status to sex partners can be charged with aggravated sexual assault. Prosecutors from the two provinces where the cases originated, Manitoba and Quebec, petitioned the court to rule that all HIV-positive people should be legally compelled to tell their sex partners, regardless of the risk reduction associated with condom use and effective HIV treatment. The court disagreed with the prosecution. To read more about the case go here.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Politics and Society, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

A new date to celebrate?

Unknown to many in South Africa, this month of September saw a new global awareness date: The Global Female Condom Awareness Day was celebrated on the 12th of September for the first time. Advocates and organizations in 22 states and 21 countries promoted the use of female condoms as underutilized safer sex tools. Although they’re called female condoms, these prophylactics can be used for both vaginal and anal sex. Here in South Africa more and more women use the female condom which can be worn for a longer time. Protecting themselves in the case of rape is also a reason often said when questioned about it.

Read more from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago here.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fighting the wrong fight…?

Following all the debates raging in and about the church in our days I more and more get the idea that we are fighting somehow the wrong fight. We fight with full force in the moment against lots of things: a piece of rubber, people loving same-sex people, women who want to determine themselves when they want to become pregnant and so much more…

I sometimes ask myself: Is that really all helping the cause of proclaiming the kingdom of the Lord? Is this really bordering God? Is this worth all the ink, the thinking, the fights, the condemnations, the money and energy spent to go against it?

Are that really choices made that we have to comment on, fight against, run whole campaigns, go to court and more? Is that what happens in the bedroom of somebody really of such great concern to God’s people on their way through the times?

Or should we not worry about other things: The unconditional love of God? The love celebrated between two people which means commitment? To strengthen the hope, the aspirations, the determination of every human being to live life to the fullest?
Should those, who feel strong about certain values not just live them as an example without the urge to force them on everybody belonging to the same congregation, denomination, religion, family clan or whatever bond?

Are our fights in between fractions of our church or certain liberal ideas fights fought to the glory of God? Or to maintain importance in society? Or regain the good old times of power and might? Or the longing for a perfect world, a sort of paradise brought into existence with human determination?

Lots of questions? No certain answers yet for me but I feel we all have to think about what makes us tick and act the way to do…

Filed under: Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Criminalization of HIV – AIDS

Bad criminal laws...Poisoning  –  terrorist attack  – bio-attack  –  murder  — attempted murder  –  assault

 

the labels of law are unbelievable – sometimes even if there is no knowledge of the infection or no transmission occurred

 

Did you know that giving birth, breastfeeding, spitting as a HIV positive person can bring you into jail in some countries?

 

In Sweden, even consent is declared invalid by law if transmission occurs

 

It is not those who know their status who drive the pandemic but those who don’t know. But would you go for a test when you know that a positive result might bring you in jail through your sexual activities, even if it is protected sex and no transmission occurs?

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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