Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

World’s AIDS Day and the LDS Church

Posted by chads on December 1, 2006

Today is World’s AIDS Day, an opportunity for “people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

Last year, Elder Robert C. Oaks gave an interview about the Church’s response to HIV/AIDS. He said:

The AIDS pandemic is an everyday reality in Africa. We didn’t have to persuade anyone that this is a horrendous societal and personal health problem. The people we worked with were hungry for answers. When we started to pull these materials together, people working on this issue had begun to see from their own statistics that the “safe sex” approach of explicit education and free condom distribution wasn’t working. They were looking for a better answer, and the best answer is found in gospel principles of morality, strong families and understanding who we are as Heavenly Father’s children.

I will soon post (Q&A) the best data answering the following questions:

-How effective is condom distribution in reducing HIV prevalence in Africa?
-How effective are abstinence campaigns in reducing HIV prevalence in Africa?

(Please note that my purpose is not to analize the Chruch’s programs. Indeed, the most effective public health intervention may not be the “best answer,” to borrow Elder Oak’s words, especially from an eternal, spiritual perspective. My purpose is to simply answer public health questions using the best evidence.)

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2 Responses to “World’s AIDS Day and the LDS Church”

  1. Servanne said

    Dear Sirs,

    In reply to the LDS respons to the HIV/AIDS affliction, I think that the LDS church is right. I used to think otherwise but I no longer do. One of the reasons why is that sexual freedom, apart from the medical problems that may ensue, does not bring happiness annd we get more happiness from a committed life long relationship than from going from one person to another in order to fulfill our needs. We are not just sexual beings. We are much more than that. I work with people who have affairs though married, I am just asking the following question : even if these people wear condoms, do you think that their attitude will not hurt their spouse in ways that are very detrimental ?

    I have had a life that is far from being perfect but when I see the damage that sexual freedom has brought about in terms of broken hearts, selfish attitude, breaking of families, depression, unfulfilled need for a secure stable relationships not to mention other damages I wonder about the wisdom of it all.

    That said, I would really advise the use of condoms for the prevention of the further spreading of HIV especially in today’s world but I still think that the cure to many of today’s affliction is in the reviewing of what life is all about and what we really want in life and maybe in the admission that God’s law was meant, among other things, to make us happy and do not see much happiness in the breaking of relationships, sexual freedom and the breaking up of families.

    I come from a broken family and I have been through some breaking up so I know what it is. I also look around.

    Regards,

  2. chads said

    Servanne,

    Thank you for your comments. You bring up some very good points. I, too, agree with the LDS’s position on the global AIDS problem, that “the best answer is found in gospel principles of morality, strong families and understanding who we are as Heavenly Father’s children.” Such a position makes sense coming from a church, and I would expect the Church’s programs to be in line with the position.

    What about Ministries of Health? How should they determine what type of program to support? How about NGOs independent of churches?

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