Global HIV/AIDS 2003 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS our Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and to promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

WHEREAS HIV/AIDS is one of the most devastating crises in the history of public health, causing 25 million deaths and now infecting over 40 million men, women, and children, and if present trends continue, 40 million African children will have become orphans by the year 2010;

WHEREAS although there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS, the disease is preventable and treatable;

WHEREAS President Bush has promised $3 billion per year over five years to fight global AIDS but has requested only $1.7 billion for 2004 and many experts believe that even $3 billion is inadequate to address the need; and

WHEREAS the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis is recognized for its expertise and credibility in fairly and efficiently allocating funds;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, brings to bear our values on the matter of the global AIDS pandemic and takes a leading role in promoting a stronger and more effective American response by:

  • Ensuring that our liberal religious voice is heard through political advocacy at all levels of decision-making related to the global AIDS crisis;
  • Raising awareness of the role of pervasive human rights violations in contributing to higher rates of HIV/AIDS infection among women and girls;
  • Calling attention to restrictive amendments to effective protection programs; and
  • Providing leadership and resources to local congregations as they take on the mission of educating their members and their local communities about the scope of the pandemic, and urging congregations to action at a grassroots level; and

We call on Congress to follow through immediately on the amounts promised in the recent legislation by:

  • Appropriating the full $3 billion per year for five years for HIV/AIDS efforts abroad, and
  • Earmarking at least $1 billion of the money appropriated for 2004 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and

We also call on the President to require the United States Trade Representative to negotiate policies that facilitate unrestricted access to low-cost generic drugs in impoverished African countries where such pharmaceuticals are not manufactured; and

We also call on the Administration to recognize that the ideologically motivated restrictions in the recently enacted “U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003” (H.R. 1298) could subvert the President’s goal of preventing 7 million HIV infections, and to direct funds to programs that rely on the best medical practices, as determined by the World Health Organization, and have the greatest potential for effectiveness.