God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Young adults born with HIV and parenthood challenges

As children born with HIV age into adulthood, they need guidance facing the additional challenges the virus poses if they consider becoming a parent. Especially in Southern Africa, where a whole generation of HIV positive want-t0-be-parents are growing up it is from utmost importance to face the upcoming problems and challenges. It’s not only about sexual encounters but responsible parenthood and dealing with the still existing stigma of being a HIV positive parent. Researchers at Royal Holloway University and St. Mary’s Hospital, London published their findings about this subject in the journal AIDS Care. I guess more should be done on this topic and I urge especially the churches to take on this topic – as a serious challenge for the parents, but also for the way, churches see sexuality and what goes with it. There is a common learning curve visible and is awaiting that we take the challenge.

Here you can find a brief resume of the write-up on the website of the Royal Holloway University in London / Great Britain. Click here.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

1.7 million

Death

Death (Photo credit: tanakawho)

The UN report on the situation of HIV and AIDS counts 1.7 million people who have died in 2012 as the result of the pandemic. We hear this figures especially on World AIDS Day and as the number is so big, emotions are normally quiet under control. Being in the situation of having just lost my dad I suddenly realize – not for the first time, but very powerful – what it means, this statistical figure: 1.7 million times a personal tragedy – most times the suffering of having lost somebody very close, very much-loved, surely in those cases very often young people or breadwinner of the family.
When death hits home – statistics suddenly transform into real life stories and every count becomes an emotional story of love and desperation, of the feeling of loss leaving behind those mourning and having to say farewell often to early in life.

Knowing, that early intervention of the Reagan administration would have saved millions of such tragedies show how devastating politics can be towards the individual lives, even thousands of miles away and for decades. And knowing, that Ronald Reagan refused to act because of his religious believe that gay people are not worth the effort shows that even in modern history faith and religion play a vital role in decisions made about life and death of people.

And this story continuous when countries scale down their contribution to the Global AIDS fund, when money for research is scrapped as the economic situation is driven by only financial gain maximization – when wars, weapon trade and the art of killing people is for most countries more important than saving lives. The story continues when religion still contributes to the hate and discrimination and persecution of those living a different lifestyle as the mainstream society.

Advent is time of preparation and reflection for those calling themselves Christians – and maybe it is time to have a hard look at how our action contributes to the well-being of all people not excluding anybody from the unconditional love of God, whom we expect to be born again on Christmas eve. And the higher somebody is in the hierarchy of the church or the political system of a country responsibility grows to act accordingly.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Using the term “HIV negative” as a substitution for “not being tested”

An attempt at a discrimination graphic.

An attempt at a discrimination graphic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently came across an opinion piece from Preston Mitchum, a policy analyst for LGBT issues. He reflects on the question how people use the wording” HIV negative” almost as a hideout for not getting tested. But telling his own story about dating a person being HIV positive and rejecting him, he touches on the whole question of maturity and discrimination. We as church always emphasis not being judgmental and not discriminating against somebody being positive. I remember a talk in a Secondary School for girls here in Cape Town where I discussed with the students the question of stigma and discrimination in the context of HIV and AIDS. And being assured from all present that discrimination would never be an option for themselves, especially being students in a Catholic school,  I dared to ask who of them would have the courage to take a boyfriend who is HIV positive. There was silence and from more than 200 girls only one hand was raised.

I am convinced that we start tackling stigma and discrimination when starting to deal with our own fears, when we confront ourselves with all our hidden anxieties and when we are able to be honest about it looking into a mirror. The honest testimony of Preston might be helpful to reflect on our own standing when it comes to stigma and discrimination in our own midst.

Using ‘HIV-Negative’ as a Substitution for ‘Haven’t Been Tested’

by Preston Mitchum

A policy analyst for LGBT issues confronts his fears about HIV testing.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Translation in 54 languages – Blog Uebersetzung

Since today the blog “HIV, AIDS and HOPE” has added the possibility to automatically translate the page. Whether German, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Malay, Urdu – all is possible and with this, the author hopes that those not able to speak and read English are now able to follow this blog. The languages possible are: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic , Armenia,  Azerbaijani , Basque , Belorussian,Bulgarian, Catalan ,Chinese (S),Chinese (T),Croatian,Czech,  Danish, Dutch ,Estonian, Filipino ,Finnish ,French ,Gallic , German, Georgian, Greek,    Hebrew, Hindi ,Hungarian, Icelandic ,Indonesian, Irish,Italian,  Japanese,Korean, Latavian, Lithuanian ,Macedonian,

Malay, Maltese,Norwegian ,Persian,Polish, Portuguese,Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.

 

 

 

 

Filed under: General, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

POZ Magazine: World AIDS Day: 1 Million Now on HIV Meds in South Africa

One million people are now on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in South Africa, according to an announcement December 1 by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, which was reported by Agence France-Presse.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. The United Nations estimates that out of a population of 50 million, 5.6 million are living with HIV. The country went through nearly a decade of inaction on the epidemic—largely a result of then President Thabo Mbeki’s skepticism about the link between HIV and AIDS. This changed toward the end of the past decade, with the implementation of one of the largest ARV distribution programs in the world.
Deputy President Motlanthe and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi kicked off their World AIDS Day observation by visiting the homes of households affected by the epidemic in a rural South African village. “What we are observing here is the devastation of HIV/AIDS. All four houses we visited here were headed by grandmothers who are looking after orphans,” said Motsoaledi, adding: “What is left for us is to see how we pick up the pieces.”  Picking up the pieces is something that the country has been quick to do in recent years. The country now has the highest rate of people with HIV on ARV therapy on the African continent, and in the past year it hit this new milestone.
“More than 200,000 new patients have been initiated on ARVs since April this year, bringing a total number to 1 million,” Motlanthe told a public gathering to mark World AIDS Day in the eastern province of Mpumalanga.

Source:  http://www.poz.com/rssredir/articles/hiv_southafrica_antiretroviral_761_19491.shtml

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

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