First Lady of Uganda Janet Museveni Receives First Global AIDS Leadership Award
Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni yesterday received the first-ever Global AIDS Leadership Award from an international consortium of HIV/AIDS organizations to honor her work with HIV/AIDS prevention efforts and AIDS orphans in Uganda. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Action, AHF Global Immunity and the Uganda Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, along with former U.S. Sens. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) and Steve Simms (R-Idaho), presented the award to Museveni at a luncheon in Washington, D.C. About 800,000 Ugandans have HIV/AIDS and as many as one million Ugandan children have been orphaned by the disease, according to USAID. However, Uganda has been able to decrease its infection rate from more than 30% to about 6% in the last few years through HIV/AIDS education initiatives. "Despite daunting odds, Uganda now stands out as an example of what can be done with few resources and with astute and fearless leadership," Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said, adding that Museveni's work, particularly her advocacy of vocational training for AIDS orphans, "serve[s] as a beacon of hope around the world" (AIDS Healthcare Foundation release, 5/6).
Museveni on Saturday joined other abstinence advocates in protesting the United Nations' policy of supplying condoms to youth in Africa, calling on the agency instead to "reaffirm marriage and promote sexual abstinence among teenagers," the Washington Times reports. "The young person who has trained to be disciplined will, in the final analysis, survive better than the one who has been instructed to wear a piece of rubber and continue with 'business as usual,'" Museveni told a meeting of the World Congress of Families. She added, "When we fail to tell our children that there are limitations to human freedom ... when we fail to teach our young that there are some moral absolutes and they must reckon with them or perish, then we do grievous harm to the future of the human race." Museveni was joined in her criticism of the United Nations' condom policy by Wade Horn, HHS assistant secretary for children and families, who said that governments "ought to make it clear that government is in the business of promoting healthy marriages ... because it is an effective strategy for improving the well-being of children." Sharon Slater, head of United Families International, also "pleaded" with the United Nations to "ensure that religions are respected and protected in U.N. documents insofar as they respect the family and the dignity of the human person." She added that people who practice abstinence outside of marriage are "free to become positive contributors to society because they don't have to worry about illegitimate pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases or broken marriages." The speakers' comments were directed at delegates scheduled to attend the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Children, which begins tomorrow (Archibald, Washington Times, 5/5).