AIDS focus at U.S. Evangelical Summit
29 November 2007
UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot spoke at the Saddleback Church Global AIDS Summit in Lake Forest, California. Dr Piot noted the unique and important role in the global AIDS response of religious groups of all kinds, which provide HIV treatment, care and support in some of the remotest parts of the world.
He called on religious leaders to scale up efforts to promote tolerance: to denounce discrimination and violence based on gender, sexual orientation or social status, and to eradicate the stigma around AIDS. He encouraged them to reach out to groups who are marginalized by society and as a result at greater risk of HIV infection.
"A quarter century into the AIDS response, it is time to take stock of the progress we've made, and consolidate and scale up what's working," said Dr Piot. "It is also time to recognize that all of us can, and must, do more, if we are to get ahead of the epidemic."
Leadership was an important theme of the summit, and was the focus of speeches from Dr Piot and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Mark Dybul who spoke in a session called ‘Excellence in Global Leadership’. Also speaking on the topic were leaders from the Organization of African First Ladies Against AIDS – Her Excellency, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda and Her Excellency, Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of Zambia.
The Saddleback Summit was organized by Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren and his wife Kay Warren, Executive Director of the church’s AIDS initiative, as an avenue for attendees to learn more about AIDS and coordinate their efforts to address the disease. The summit is taking place from November 28-30. A youth summit is scheduled to follow on December 1.
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