Myth Buster Monday: Promoting condoms is the best way to curb the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Africa.

Myth Buster Monday: Promoting condoms is the best way to curb the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Africa.

Condom promotion and distribution continues to be the focus of the western-style intervention in the African HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been, and continue to be, poured into AIDS ravished countries by UNAID (the UN’s premier HIV/AIDs organization) and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), and numerous non-profit organizations.  Providing a “sex positive” message accompanied by “condom education” has been the preferred approach to curbing the epidemic.

So has it been effective?   The answer is an emphatic “No.”

Uganda is a classic case.  In the 1980’s Uganda’s government instituted what became known as the “ABC Prevention” program.  A = abstinence, B = be faithful (zero-grazing) and C = condoms last of all (if you’re not doing either A or B).   When the international “help” arrived with their money, they began to denigrate and dismiss the Ugandan success and began condom promotion as the focus of AIDs prevention efforts.  The prevalence of HIV/AIDs began to rise and within just a few years Uganda’s HIV/AIDs statistics began to mirror the dismal statistics for other African nations – countries who had not used an ABC approach, but had followed the “sex positive” hyper-condom-distribution model.

So what has the research shown to be effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDs in Africa?

  • Fidelity/monogamy
  • Delayed sexual debut (abstinence)
  • Male circumcision

Researcher Edward C. Green in his book “Broken Promises:  How the AIDS Establishment Has Betrayed the Developing World” insists that Western ideology has led to millions of preventable AIDS deaths in Africa:

“[T]he best and the brightest in medicine and public health have led us to a global disaster of epic proportions.  In fact, we are now experience the greatest avoidable epidemic in history.”

The book “Broken Promises” is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the nexus of politics, ideology, and science.  No, everyone should read this book to understand where a “sex supersedes all” mindset can lead.

Research showing that promoting sexual fidelity is the best approach to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa:

D. Halperin and H. Epstein, “Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Help Explain Africa’s High HIV Prevalence: Implications for Prevention,” Lancet 363 (2004): 4-6.

Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen, “Condom Promotion for AIDS Prevention in the Developing World: Is It Working?” Studies in Family Planning 35, no. 1 (2004): 39-47.

P. Kajubi, M. R. Kamya, S. Kamya, S. Chen, W. McFarland, and N. Hearst, “Increasing Condom Use without Reducing HIV Risk: Results of a Controlled Community Trial in Uganda,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 40, no. 1 (2005): 77-82.

Deborah Watson-Jones, et al., “Risk Factors for HIV Incidence in Women Participating in an HSV Suppressive Treatment Trial in Tanzania,” AIDS 23 (2009):415-22.

James D. Shelton, et al., “Partner Reduction Is Crucial for Balanced ‘ABC’ Approach to HIV Prevention,” BMJ 328, no. 10 (April 2004): 891-93.

Stoneburner and Low-Beer, “Population-level HIV Declines and Behavioral Risk Avoidance in Uganda,”  Science, Vol. 304,  April (2004):  714-718.

G. Asiimwe-Okiror, A.A. Opio, J. Musinguzi. E. Madraa, G. Tembo, and M. Carael, “Change in Sexual Behavior and Decline in HIV Infection among Youhg Preganant Women in Urban Uganda,” AIDS 11 (1997): 1757-63.

D. T. Halperin, M. J. Steiner, M.M. Cassell, et al., “The Time Has Come for Common Ground on Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV,” Lancet 364 (2004): 1,913-15.

J. Richens, J. Imrie, and A. Copas, “Condoms and Seat Belts:  The Parallels and the Lessons, Lancet 355, no. 9201 (2000):  400-403.

 

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