The Archbishop of Canterbury’s video message for World Aids Day

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said that churches need to be brave, imaginative and honest in the fight against the spread of HIV and Aids.

In a message for World Aids Day [Saturday 1st December], issued for the first time as a video available on the internet, Dr Williams said churches are actively engaged in the global response to HIV and described as ‘a scandal’ the limited access to drugs and treatment in deprived parts of the world.

“It is important that we do not allow ourselves to be paralysed by this challenge; people do not have to die – drugs and treatment are available – the scandal is that access is so often limited and it is hard to see where justice lies in the way resources are sometimes distributed.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury

8 Comments
Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Albany* wrote:

An urgent message and a reminder that the present theological crisis has caused, necessarily contrary to 815 spin, the loss of attention to the very things that they allege matter—but do not matter enough to them to change course. How about some of that lawsuit money for drugs? This is the scandal.

November 30, 11:51 am | [comment link]
2. sic transit gloria mundi wrote:

I am all for helping people with aids/hiv in Africa. What continually perplexes me is that no one addresses the spread of aids. In africa there are three primary transmission vectors. Rape ,prostitution and what used to be called old fashioned licentious living. All of these things are strongly discouraged in the Bible. Yet I have never heard a word from the ABC or Mrs Schori.It seems to me TEC law suits should be replaced with teaching classical Christian moral values.

November 30, 12:44 pm | [comment link]
3. Mark Johnson wrote:

As someone who spent a summer working doing HIV-prevention training in southern Nigeria, I will agree that there is so much to be done to educate the people there about how to stop the spread of this horrible disease.  Our group was routinely dealing with a very harmful rumor being perpetrated for years, that a person with AIDS could be cured by having sex with a virgin.  I can’t begin to describe the number of tears we shed in frustration over there. 

#2 - I know it’s popular on this blog to blame next to everything wrong in the world on the Presiding Bishop.  Let’s not blame this on +Schori and +Williams.  What if the Bishops of the Southern Hemisphere were to devote themselves to dealing with this crisis right in their own front yard rather than worrying about the Episcopal Church?  Despite all of the talk about how committed these bishops are to the Gospel, and how their numbers are exploding, we see no downturn in HIV infections through most of the continent (Uganda the possible exception due to a radically progressive plan begun years ago to promote both circumcision and condom distribution).

November 30, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
4. libraryjim wrote:

Mark Our group was routinely dealing with a very harmful rumor being perpetrated for years, that a person with AIDS could be cured by having sex with a virgin.

The same rumor was perpetuated at different times as a cure for different types of STD’s.  When desperate, people will believe anything, rather than change their behaviors, but the result is that even more people get hurt.

November 30, 4:13 pm | [comment link]
5. robroy wrote:

Uganda the possible exception due to a radically progressive plan begun years ago to promote both circumcision and condom distribution.

This is a ribald lie. The condom distributors came well after the Universal Chastity Educators and the like had cut the HIV rate from 15-20% in the 80’s to less than 5% in 2000. This got the attention of the world and only then did the condom purveyors come in.

See here for a detailed study by USAID. In particular, we have the following quote,

Condom social marketing has played a key but evidently not the major role:

See the graph on page seven showing that condom distribution came after the prevalence had dropped to less than 5%.

I would encourage all to look at Universal Chasity Educators and consider supporting them (we do). It is an amazing Christian organization that are educating kids about HIV/AIDS but also providing wonderful Christian witness.

November 30, 4:22 pm | [comment link]
6. Mark Johnson wrote:

RobRoy - a “ribald lie”?  That’s a bit unnecessary.  You are certainly welcome to disagree.  There are figures on all sides of course.  I concur abstinence education has helped, but it’s not single-handedly responsible.  Check out:  “A, B, and C in Uganda:  The roles of abstinence, monogamy, and condom use in HIV decline” - published by the Allan Guttmacher Institute (2003); “Uganda’s Decline in HIV/AIDS Prevalence Attributed to Condom Use, Early Death from AIDS” (TheBody, 2005); “Uganda Reverses the Tide of HIV/AIDS” (World Health Organization: A Key to Health and Prosperity). 
Anything that’s saving a life is something I’m in favor of.  I support all of these efforts.
However, I do resent you calling it a “ribald” lie - I don’t think it was either obscene or vulgar.

November 30, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
7. robroy wrote:

Sorry, Mark. You are right. I went overboard. But if frustrates me the “johnny come lately’s” taking credit. Pax.

November 30, 5:41 pm | [comment link]
8. robroy wrote:

I would also disagree that male circumcision had anything to do with the decline of HIV/AIDS in Uganda in that information about male circumcision and decreased infection rates in males have only been out for a year or so. See for example…

Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial. Gray et al, Lancet. 2007 Feb 24; 369(9562):657-66.

I believe the first randomized controlled trial showing benefit of circumcision and HIV was in May of 2006.

November 30, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
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