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Unexpected change

"Unexpected change" Continued...

Issue: "New breed of homeless," Feb. 28, 2009

Kay Warren, who co-directs Saddleback Church's AIDS initiative and is the wife of pastor Rick Warren, said that "the administration had every right to appoint a new person," but the problem "was the abruptness." She praised Dybul's work and emphasized her confidence that the Obama administration can pick the right person to fill his shoes.

Elizabeth Styffe, who also co-directs the Saddleback program and has worked closely with PEPFAR, said some Christian groups refused to offer antiretroviral treatments as part of their AIDS programs, leading to the frustration some health organizations expressed toward the abstinence approach. "We have a moral mandate," Styffe said. "God by His grace has made treatment available to people."

"We definitely still believe in PEPFAR, even if some of the things I care very much about change," Warren said. "President Obama has already lifted the Mexico City [policy]-that's a worldview issue . . . I don't agree with. There will be some battles about sexuality, family planning. There are a lot of things that are going to be different."

But the fight against AIDS has never relied solely on government programs, emphasize Styffe and Warren. Because the pandemic spans the globe, groups need the help of governments, businesses and nonprofits, including churches.

The lack of transition between directors, though, means Dybul "can't give his successor insight into what is happening," Gwan said, and she worries that it will lead to "a second program that starts from zero with no reference to the past."

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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