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Latex lobbyists

"Latex lobbyists" Continued...

Issue: "Memorial Day 2003," May 24, 2003

African faith-based groups have also been slow to enter into the fight, Ms. Kasirye said, because they see those with AIDS as reaping the results of sin. But that aloofness is beginning to melt. Southern Africa in the last two years has seen churches minister increasingly to AIDS orphans, widows, and patients.

Even so, practical abstinence-education programs are still rare. "It's true to say that many churches promote abstinence but they don't have any strategy put in place to help young people adopt abstinence," said Mr. Mwila, who works for one of Zambia's first abstinence movements.

A lack of know-how could be easily solved if some of the $15 billion went to training faith-based groups and churches in abstinence education, said Patrick Fagan, family and cultural issues fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Large-scale partnerships with faith-based groups are "new ground" for the U.S. aid agency, he said, and noted that "the UN is very hostile to religion in all of its social policies. USAID on issues of abstinence has pretty much had the same hostility."

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