President’s Welcome Video To International AIDS Conference 2012

Some history and a commitment to continue progress:

The Real Catholic Response To LGBT Persons

…is set forth in this week’s America magazine– a journal by American Jesuits.

The landmark Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church s...

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After the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago compared gays and the KKK, after all the fear-mongering anti-marriage rhetoric thrown out by the Catholic hierarchy, finally, a cautious voice of reason:

In mid-December Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a passionate speech in Geneva on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, encouraging nations to support human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Much of what she says can, and should, be supported by Catholics. Same-sex marriage has been strongly opposed by the church. But Mrs. Clinton’s speech is referring to the more fundamental right of gay and lesbian people to live without fear and without threat of death. Americans may have become so focused on the question of same-sex marriage that they overlook the dire conditions under which many gay and lesbian people live throughout the world.

In Uganda, for example, there are moves to make homosexual activity punishable by death. This is extreme, but Uganda is far from an isolated case. In Kenya conviction brings up to 14 years in prison; in Tanzania up to life in prison; and in Saudi Arabia the penalties include fines, whipping, prison and death. As Mrs. Clinton said, “It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation….” The Catechism teaches that gays and lesbians should be accepted with respect, sensitivity and compassion: “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” The church should continue to raise its voice in defense of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who suffer unjust discrimination.

Bravo, America Magazine. It’s a good reminder- and a fair beginning.

New York Times: Expanding HIV Treatment Necessary And Overdue

This hasn’t taken that long.

I’m blaming Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The news that HIV treatment is prevention has taken a remarkably short time to hit the mainstream media, and it’s due to Secretary Clinton’s address to the NIH last month, and the President of The United States.

The NYT:

President Barack Obama announces a new compreh...

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Important new findings show that very early treatment of people infected with H.I.V. enhances their health and greatly lessens the likelihood that they will spread the virus that causes AIDS. We welcome the Obama administration’s announcement of a farsighted effort to treat millions more infected people abroad, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The administration expects that the expanded treatments can be paid for with existing resources, by pushing for greater efficiencies and more financing from recipient nations. But if that effort stalls, the administration should re-evaluate quickly whether to ask Congress for money.

… Mr. Obama also announced that he would commit an additional $50 million in this country in fiscal year 2012 to help pay for treatments at AIDS clinics and in-state programs that provide AIDS drugs to people who can’t afford them. The money may be drawn from $1 billion available through the health care reform law.

Working to get these changes made legislatively have proven impossible in a Republican-owned House and a Republican-bullied Senate- especially when it involves the health of gay and bisexual men- so policy and administrative action were required. And by beginning to make testing and immediate treatment for HIV routine, medical practices are established that will be hard to take back.

An estimated 1.2 million Americans were infected with the virus at latest count, of whom 240,000 people are unaware. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started a campaign last week to increase testing with special emphasis on warning black gay and bisexual men, whose infection rates have been soaring, to get tested and treated.

Meanwhile, the New York City Health Department became the second (after San Francisco’s) to recommend doctors offer drug therapy immediately to every person diagnosed as infected, instead of waiting for the virus to damage their immune systems. The city has made enormous strides in testing, treating and cutting the number of new infections. Some 110,000 infected residents are under treatment; aggressive testing might find another 2,500 immediately and perhaps 500 a year thereafter.

The investments here and abroad should pay off in the long run by reducing the number of people infected and easing the severity of illnesses.

Thanks to you both.