South African Archbishop Lobbies U.S. Officials for Help Combating HIV/AIDS
South African Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane last week met with U.S. government and corporate officials in Washington, D.C., to lobby for assistance in fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa, the Washington Post reports. Ndungane met with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and other officials to advocate for debt relief and "full funding" of President Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative, according to the Post. Responding to criticism by some AIDS advocates that Bush's upcoming budget would cut by two-thirds U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Ndungane said, "It is up to the American public to challenge whatever discrepancies are there." He added that South Africa is "appreciative of any help given to alleviate the global pandemic before us." According to the Post, Ndungane is the only leader in the African Episcopal Church who has publicly supported the U.S. Episcopal Church after it voted in August 2003 to ordain an openly gay bishop and to recognize same-sex couples. Eight other African Anglican provinces have cut ties with the U.S. chapter. Ndungane has said that differences of opinion over homosexuality should not take precedent over the "life and death issues before us" (Cooperman, Washington Post, 2/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.