African Religious Group Announces New Strategy To Fight HIV/AIDS, Meant To Replace ABC
The African Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS recently developed a new strategy that aims to fight HIV comprehensively and curb stigma and discrimination surrounding the virus, the Catholic Information Service for Africa/AllAfrica.com reports. The strategy uses the acronym SAVE -- which stands for safer practices, available medications, voluntary counseling and testing and empowerment through education -- and aims to replace the HIV prevention method ABC -- which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms (Catholic Information Service for Africa/AllAfrica.com, 3/24). The London-based not-for-profit group Christian Aid -- which has adopted the SAVE method -- said in a release that ABC "is not well suited to the complexities of human life" and "fuels stigma and precludes safer sexual practices" by placing people in one of the three categories. Christian Aid says that being faithful to one sexual partner does not automatically protect a person against HIV transmission and that condom users are not necessarily people who do not wish to abstain or be faithful (Christian Aid release, 3/21). Under the SAVE method, "safer practices" include ensuring HIV-negative blood for transfusions, using methods to prevent HIV transmission during sexual intercourse, ensuring the availability of clean needles and adopting medical safety procedures. The "available medications" component includes access to antiretroviral therapy and ensuring good nutrition and clean water. The "voluntary counseling and testing" component includes programs aimed at ensuring that people know their HIV status and how to prevent HIV transmission, as well as programs providing information and support to HIV-positive people. The "empowerment through education" component includes efforts to ensure access to accurate information about all aspects of the pandemic (Catholic Information Service for Africa/AllAfrica.com, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.