- Ironies hoe die betekenis van die woord "immoral" in hierdie berig omgekeer
From health24 - <http://www.health24.com/news/HIV_AIDS/1-920,35547.asp>
Pandor immoral - Achmat
Last updated: Friday, April 28, 2006
Education Minister Naledi Pandor was acting immorally by refusing to make
condoms available in schools, Treatment Action Campaign chairman Zackie
Achmat told delegates to an international conference this week.
"Pandor's immoral position undermines informed choice and places youth at
increased risk of harm," he said in an address at the closing session of
Microbicides 2006 in Cape Town.
Achmat said a survey carried out in South Africa in 2004 showed that 62 per
cent of young people who were HIV positive but did not know it, believed
they were not at risk of HIV infection.
It is a tragedy
"It is a tragedy that 25 years into the epidemic Naledi Pandor, our minister
of education, mimics George Bush when she ignores scientific evidence and
refuses to make condoms available in schools," he told delegates.
The absence of serious sexuality education also placed learners at increased
risk of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection and HIV.
Govt. promoting conspiracy of silence
Achmat hit out at the government and President Thabo Mbeki for promoting
what he said was a "conspiracy of silence", accusing them of trying to make
Aids deaths "invisible".
"Tragically, President Mbeki continues to display all the symptoms of HIV
denial," he said.
The four-day microbicides conference, attended by over 1200 delegates from
around the world, was called to discuss the development of an Aids-fighting
treatment, most likely a gel, that women can insert into their vaginas
Call for more funding
In a video message played at the closing session, UNAids executive director
Peter Piot said he was "deeply frustrated" that the search for an efficient
microbicide had been progressing so slowly, partly because of a lack of
Echoing calls made by earlier speakers at the conference, including women's
rights advocate Graca Machel, he said resources invested in microbicide
research had to be doubled, which would mean only an additional 150 million
US dollars a year.
"Developing an efficient microbicide is one of the most important things
that the world can do to get ahead of Aids," he said. "So we can not allow
Urgency of pandemic is escalating
The World Health Organization's assistant director for family and community
health, Joy Phumaphi, told the conference that the urgency of the Aids
pandemic continued to escalate, with close to six million new infections
worldwide last year.
"The human carnage has become a living nightmare, so visible and tangible
that in Africa, it is a defining feature of all human interaction," she
In order to have effective microbicides in the shortest possible time,
global stakeholders needed to commit resources to areas including research
and development, health systems and training.
She urged the pharmaceutical industry to invest in microbicides as a product
that had the potential to double or even treble in some settings the
population covered by the condom market.
Aids has a woman's face
She noted that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had said that
Aids had a woman's face, particularly in Africa, where women were so much
more vulnerable to the disease than men.
"The imperatives we have witnessed at the conference, in our communities and
at home brook no denial because the face of HIV and Aids is not just the
face of a woman, it is the face of the struggle for human survival," she
In a statement, conference organisers said that for the first time in the
history of microbicide research in South Africa, local scientists and
government had come together "in solidarity for this new technology".
"This international forum has presented valuable new information for the
formulation of the next generation of microbicides," said Prof Gita Ramjee,
conference co-chair and Medical Research Council researcher. - (Sapa)
Visit our HIV/Aids Centre for more information.
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