AIDS Specialist and Former Condom Advocate Speaks on Switch to Abstinence

Thu Dec 8, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

By Gudrun Schultz

LAKE FOREST, Calif., December 8, 2005 ( - A senior U. S. research scientist who once advocated the use of condoms to slow the spread of HIV now promotes abstinence and fidelity as far more effective weapons against the disease.

Edward Green, with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, became convinced of the effectiveness of abstinence and faithfulness after witnessing the impact of Uganda’s ABC program on the country’s infection rates. The ABC method, which stands for Abstain, Be faithful, or use a Condom, is credited with dramatically reducing the rate of HIV infection in Uganda since it was first implemented in 1986.

Encouraging abstinence and faithfulness has had the most impact, according to Green.
“Advocates of the ABCs often use the term to mean a primary emphasis on abstinence/delay of sexual debut and faithfulness/partner reduction, with condom use being a secondary but necessary strategy for those who do not or cannot practice abstinence or fidelity,” Green stated at a recent conference on HIV/AIDS held at the Saddleback Church in California. “Most critically, ‘B’ behaviors (fidelity and reduction in the number of sexual partners) increased dramatically.” (Baptist Press)

Appearing before the African subcommittee of the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2003, Green stated: “Infection rates [in Uganda] have declined from 21% to 6 % since 1991. Many of us in the AIDS and public health communities didn’t believe that abstinence and faithfulness were realistic goals. It now seems we were wrong.” (

Green was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and Aids in 2003.
“Condom adoption is sometimes assumed to be a simpler behavior change to adopt than that of abstinence or faithfulness,” Green said. “Yet condom use, especially correct and consistent condom use, is also a difficult and demanding behavior change. Part of the proof of this observation is the disappointing low levels of consistent condom use after more than 20 years of condom promotion in the developing world.” (Baptist Press)

Advocates of condom use as an AIDS preventative in third world countries have reacted poorly to evidence of the success rate achieved by the ABC method. LifeSiteNews reported in July 2004 on pro-condom activists at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, among them Canada’s Stephen Lewis, who attacked U.S. supporters of the program as “foolhardy” and “destructive.”Â

For that and other related coverage see:
  U.N.‘s Top AIDS Envoy Forgets Diplomacy in Demonizing U.S. Abstinence First Strategy
  UN Anger Over Uganda’s Successful Abstinence Program Fueled by Loss of Funds Says Researcher

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