Friday July 16, 2004

U.N.’s Top AIDS Envoy Forgets Diplomacy in Demonizing U.S. Abstinence First Strategy

BANGKOK, July 16, 2004 ( – The International AIDS Conference in Bangkok is in an uproar. While overpopulated with pro-condom ideologues, it is hearing from Uganda, the only African nation that has dramatically reversed the epidemic, on why condom use is a very distant third add-on to their successful ABC program of promotion of abstinence before marriage and being faithful during marriage.

However, rather than slamming the Ugandan delegation at the conference which included the Ugandan President, the anger of the pro-condom activists has been directed at the United States which has taken Uganda as an example and adopted a push for abstinence and fidelity over condoms. The U.S. move has made leftist activists such as Canada’s Stephen Lewis irate.

The high-profile Lewis, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, came unhinged at the conference Wednesday after U.S. envoy Randall Tobias presented the proposal of abstinence and fidelity first. Using language uncharacteristic of UN higher-ups for whom diplomacy reigns, Lewis spoke to reporters saying of the U.S. approach, “It’s completely out of date… an ideological distortion.” He also called it “foolhardy” and “destructive.”

Dr Sam Okware, Uganda’s first AIDS control programme director and Commissioner of Health Services informed conference participants of his country’s unique and dramatic beating back of the deadly epidemic. Okware explained that while the fight against AIDS is centered on the condom in other countries, in Uganda, condoms come last, with morality playing the central role. At the outset of the conference, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni set sparks flying saying AIDS is, “obviously a moral problem when one has sexual intercourse before marriage or outside marriage.”

Nevertheless, Lewis, who has a long history of intense social liberalism and socialist political views, pontificated, “Tobias has an ideological agenda, and the ideological agenda is abstinence over condoms as a matter of public policy. But that ideological agenda, with respect, is wrong, and most of the experts and scientists understand that it’s wrong.”

See related coverage:
International AIDS Conference Told by Leading AIDS Fighter Use Abstinence Not Condoms

See related coverage on Lewis:
Bishop Objects To Stephen Lewis Speaking At Catholic Health Conference
Lewis’ Rwanda Report Blames Christian Church For Genocide



Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.