religion: Pope sentences women to slow death.

Why won’t the pope let women protect themselves from HIV?

papal representatives are putting doctrine before African women’s health Nancy

Who can forget Pope Benedict XVI‘s first tour of Africa as pontiff in spring 2009? He told the continent hardest hit by the global HIV/Aids crisis that more stringent moral attitudes toward sex would help fight the disease – indeed, that condom distribution “increases the problem”. There was no sign that his Holiness understood the depth of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for 75% of all HIV-related deaths that year, or had made any attempt to reconcile religious doctrine with compassionate public health policy.
Now, it’s June 2011, the 30th anniversary of the Aids pandemic, and the Holy See is at it again.

The Holy See has left no doubt about their stance.

For months now, their all-male team has been trying to strip all references to sexual and reproductive health and rights from the meeting’s declaration; gutting all mentions of education and prevention other than marriage and fidelity; and insisting that “families” be replaced with “the family”, as though that monolith even exists or that it provides some kind of magic shield against HIV.
Either the Holy See does not understand, or does not care that their hardline stance is not actually “pro-life” in any sense. They ask that paragraph 60 of the declaration, which addresses research and development for treating and curing HIV, delete all mention of “female-controlled prevention methods”. This despite the fact that female condoms and the very promising looking microbicides now being developed have no relation to abortion and represent the single greatest potential life saver for women worldwide.
Today marks the opening of a United Nations general assembly “high level meeting” on Aids in New York City that will evaluate the progress of that body’s response to the pandemic over the past five years and set the agenda for the next decade. Serra Sippel, president of the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (Change), declares that “this meeting is where we decide how serious we are about beating HIV, and how serious we are about women’s equality.” If so,
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