Challenging Questions...

Spike Posted by Colin Corbridge on Mon, 05 May 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

HIV is a huge issue – no kidding.

For many of our partners the reality of working with HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest challenges they face. I read this in the Times over the weekend and thought it was worth flagging. Not sure I agree with all of it but it made me think.

The basic gist of the article, by Elizabeth Pisani, is that political correctness over criticising sexual practices such as multiple partners in Africa has prevented us finding an effective strategy to fight HIV. It also raises some big issues about how charities, agencies and NGOs have responded over the years.

Here’s a quick extract from the article or you can link to the whole thing here.

“When I started out in this business in the mid1990s, the world was spending just $250m a year on HIV in poor countries. Later, as African infection rates soared, HIV was repositioned as an affliction of the innocent. The cash started to roll in and, last year, the world spent $10 billion on HIV in poor countries.

When the funding pie was small, HIV prevention meant doing helpful things for sex workers, gay men and drug injectors. Now that the pie has grown to 40 times its original size, and HIV has been painted as almost exclusively a matter of poverty, youth and “innocent victims”, everyone wants a bite.

The UN agencies were the first to jump on to the growing pile of funding, each finding a way to link the blood-borne virus to its own mandate. Other agencies dealing with children, development, economics, labour and agriculture all suddenly found that HIV was fundamental to their work. But the trail of funding hasn’t always taken them in the right direction.”

What do you think? Where does faith fit in all of this? Does the Church have a unique role to play?