Gambia is on the verge of enacting a law that would sentence its citizens to life in prison if convicted of aggravated homosexuality. Leading human rights groups have urged Gambian President Yahya Jammeh not to sign the legislation into law, though Amnesty International says it is unlikely he will be persuaded against it.
The country's current law imposes jail terms of up to 14 years for people charged with engaging in hoomosexual acts. The new law, passed by the National Assembly in August, would impose life in prison for those who break its aggravated homosexuality laws, and pertains to repeat offenders, people who are HIV-positive and those who sexually assault a minor.
"Gambia's bill is a copycat of the Ugandan legislation," Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International's managing director of government relations, claimed in an interview with MSNBC. "We expect [Jammeh] to sign it into law. He's never held back on a threat he's made." more >>
"Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson has spoken out about the plight of AIDS in homosexual communities and called it God's "penalty" for their behavior.
"God says, 'One woman, one man,' and everyone says, 'Oh, that's old hat, that's that old Bible stuff,'" Robertson told Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council in a new interview. "But I'm thinking, well let's see now. A clean guy – a disease-free guy and a disease-free woman – they marry and they keep their sex between the two of them. They're not going to get chlamydia and gonorrhea, and syphilis and AIDS. It's safe."
"To me, either it's the wildest coincidence ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct or it's God saying, 'There's a penalty for that kind of conduct.' I'm leaning towards there's a penalty toward it," Robertson added. more >>
WASHINGTON – Faith-based communities are a critical part of overseas aid and development, government officials declared at an event praising those efforts.
At the opening event for the multiday U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit, leaders in the government and faith-based organizations spoke about the efforts to aid development in the African continent.
The Friday morning opening breakfast event was hosted by Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. more >>
Recent debate about access to women's birth control could not be more deceptive or ironic because it's based on the false presupposition that reproductive rights is solely a woman's issue. The universally known biological fact is that no woman can become pregnant without a man's sperm.
Yet, "family planning" initiatives have always targeted women, not men. None involve a systematic implementation of vasectomies or chemical castration. None address the reality that no female birth control method prevents STD/HIV/AIDS transmission.
Promoting female birth control is profoundly sexist. Targeting women reinforces widespread, long-held cultural and legal norms that ignore male sexual responsibility and culpability, and actually creates tangible, authentic gender inequality. more >>
Participants at an international AIDS conference set to begin in Australia Sunday plunged into mourning early Friday morning after learning that 100 AIDS medical researchers and workers including former International AIDS Society President Joep Lange, died en route to the conference on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 which crashed in eastern Ukraine Thursday.
Health researcher Clive Aspin told The Sydney Morning Herald that the news devastated participants who were attending a pre-conference session Friday as 16 years ago, AIDS research pioneer Jonathan Mann was also killed in a plane crash.
"Yet again, we're devastated by a similar tragedy," said Aspin. "It's going to be a very somber mood at the conference in Melbourne, especially for those of us who have been coming to these conferences for many years." more >>
In 2002, only 50,000 people living with with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa had access to anti-retroviral drugs. President George W. Bush sought to address the millions of people affected by the disease with his PEPFAR program and US participation in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2002-2003. Today, over 12.9 million people now have access to ARVs worldwide, restoring health and life not only for individuals but also for families and communities.
While we may be winning the war on global AIDS, we still have much work to do in order to make comparable progress in improving the health of children and mothers.
Over 6.9 million children died last year in the developing world from preventable, treatable disease. Forty percent of those were newborns in their first month of life. Many of these children died of pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. And their deaths could easily have been averted with simple interventions like vaccines, oral rehydration, and bed nets. more >>