By Aaron Leichman
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jun. 20 2008 07:39 PM ET
Conservative and pro-family groups expressed their shock and disappointment over efforts to legitimize aberrant sexual behavior during a recent high-level U.N. conference on AIDS and HIV.
Thomas Jacobson, Focus on the Family Action’s representative to the United Nations, said that high-level officials of the international organization tried to push an agenda that would grant special status to sex workers, homosexuals and people living with HIV/AIDS.
“This was the first meeting where homosexuality, prostitution and injection drug use was promoted as acceptable behaviors that should be protected,” he told CitizenLink.com, referring to the U.N. General Assembly’s high-level meeting last week to review progress made in implementing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.
During the June 10-11 session, members of the U.N. panel discussion reportedly said that such groups should be considered “sexual minorities” and be free from the social stigma and laws against sodomy and prostitution that exist in many countries.
“[M]any countries have criminalized behaviors that push people underground and make them afraid to come forward to receive proper prevention and treatment,” lamented Opening Plenary Speaker Ratri Suryadarma of Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility Asia (CARAM Asia) in Malaysia.
“Decriminalize behaviors associated with risk of HIV that are targeted at specific groups,” she urged the United Nations, referring to “drug users, sex workers, gay men” and other vulnerable groups.
“HIV is a virus, not a moral issue,” one NGO representative said, according to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.
Alternative or new approaches over faith-based programs could reduce the spread of HIV, members of the panel reportedly said.
Piero Tozzi, executive vice president at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, however, argued against the assertion.
“Rather than legitimizing the behavior that leads to HIV/AIDS, there should be efforts meant at curtailing it,” he told CitizenLink.com.
“The notion that this is going to help the addicts and benefit society is false,” he added.
According to figures released on the eve of last week’s high-level meeting, there is a decline in global AIDS deaths and infections. An estimated 32.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV in December 2007 compared with 39.5 million people in 2006. Also, the annual rate of new infections seemed to have declined over the last decade. There were 2.5 million new infections in 2007 down from 3.2 million infections in 1998.
Last week’s meeting hosted 8 presidents and more than 90 prime ministers, foreign ministers and health ministers.
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