News

    New Book says Tens of Millions of Young People Face AIDS Risk Due to Lack of Sex Education

    The world's largest AIDS conference begins next Sunday night. The 17th International AIDS Conference is being held in Mexico City from August 3rd through August 8th.

    At the conference, the anti-poverty agency ActionAid is releasing a new book entitled: Politics of Prevention – A Global Crisis in AIDS and Education. It says tens of millions of young people are at risk due to a lack of comprehensive sex education. David Archer, co-author of the book, spoke from London to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about what he means by the politics of prevention.

    "The field of HIV and AIDS is one where it is now become very clear that although we cannot cure HIV and AIDS, it can be prevented very easily with basic information (and) basic education. But unfortunately, large numbers of children around the world aren't able to access that education and that is as a result of political elements in a number of ways," he says.

    Archer outlines the areas where he says politics have hurt the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    "First, the politics around the financing of HIV and AIDS. And secondly, politics around…the way in which macro economic support through advice as given by the International Monetary Fund…undermines the capacity of governments to invest in education. And thirdly, the politics of the United Nations, which are unable to confront some of the fundamental truths around HIV and AIDS, which require people to talk about sensitive issues like sex…needle exchange and gay men, which can actually save lives," he says.

    Asked why he believes these problems exist more than 25 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he says, "I think in a way a lot of attention is being focused in recent years on treatment and ensuring access to treatment and that's clearly been very important. But in the last 10 years, I think this area of prevention has become increasingly political and increasingly sensitive. And particularly I think we see the way that (President) George Bush's initiative PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)…has actually politicized and particularly introduced this idea that children around the world should only be taught to abstain, an abstinence-only model of education."

    He says that model has been proven a failure both in the United States and elsewhere. Nevertheless, he says the abstinence-only model has been "exported to Africa," displacing more comprehensive programs.

    PEPFAR officials deny the program ever over-emphasized abstinence, saying, however, they wanted to ensure that abstinence and being faithful received as much attention as condom use.

    The reauthorized version of PEPFAR, approved recently, eliminates the requirement that a certain amount of funds be set aside for abstinence-only programs, although some such programs will continue in small numbers.

    President Bush says he's ready to sign the expanded version of PEPFAR, which provides $48 billion dollars for HIV/AIDS over five years. The original version allocated $15 billion. It also stipulates that more than half of the aid goes towards treatment and care and 10 percent for orphans and vulnerable children.

    "Archer says, "I would agree that we are making progress in the right direction. I think that officially the money is no longer conditioned on abstinence-only programs and this is clearly a major step forward. Unfortunately, that takes time to filter down into practice. And after several years of funding being dependent on organizations using only abstinence approaches, you have many organizations, who in the desperate need for funding have closed down these other strands of their work. Now it takes time to rebuild those programs in a more comprehensive way."

    He adds, "Just actually going to school and staying in school itself can help to reduce the risk of infection from HIV and AIDS because the school offers a safe environment. If that school is also able to offer comprehensive sex education you are considerably safer. The shock truth of course is that over 70 million children around the world don't even go to primary school. So, the first challenge is to get all children into school and then to ensure that those schools are providing life saving education."

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora