Friday February 4, 2005

Uganda AIDS Prevention Success Being Undermined by Infuriated UN Condom-Pushers

KAMPALA, February 4, 2005 ( – Dr. Edward C. Green, PhD, an AIDS prevention worker and senior research scientist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development says that the success of Uganda’s AIDS prevention program has so infuriated Western AIDS prevention groups, they are willing to destroy it rather than change their condoms-only approach.

Writing in the January 31st edition of the Weekly Standard, Green says the Ugandan success, based as it is on sexual abstinence and marital fidelity, “directly challenges core values and attitudes enshrined by the Western sexual revolution.” Green writes, “How infuriating that an approach not funded by the big donors and scoffed at by foreign experts should prove to be the very thing that worked.”

Reasoning that AIDS is spread mainly through sexual contact, the Ugandan government decided in the early 1990’s that the best way to prevent that spread would be to convince its citizens to adopt sexual abstinence and fidelity within marriage. This inexpensive, indigenous program required little outside funding or support and the results are acknowledged to be astonishing. The Ugandan HIV/AIDS rate fell by half, from 15% in 1991 to 4% by 2004. Uganda’s program was starting to be emulated by other countries such as Kenya and Senegal.

Green says, “One would expect the (Ugandan) model to have been replicated around the world…Instead, even in its country of origin, the model has fallen into disrepair.”

Various NGO’s, meanwhile, including the UNICEF, the UNFPA, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control were spreading the dogma of condoms first, last and always for AIDS prevention. With most of the AIDS prevention work being done in Africa by these organizations, it can come as little surprise that the rate of AIDS has done nothing but climb to current pandemic proportions. Green writes that “few AIDS experts wanted to accept the evidence from Uganda because people do not like to admit they might have been wrong, especially in a matter involving countless millions of dollars and the lives of millions of people.”

Green said by 2002, presentations from the USAID and Centers for Disease Control staff made no mention of abstinence or faithfulness in assessing the Ugandan situation. “They spoke exclusively about latex, drugs, vaccine research,” he said.

Green writes that foreign donors have been systematically undermining Uganda’s successful model. Now condom advertising is ‘ubiquitous’ in Uganda and there are currently no plans for interventions that promote fidelity or partner reduction. “Indeed,” Green says, “with rare exceptions, they have simply refused to pay for” such programs.

This shift has not been the work of Ugandans themselves. Senator Sam Brownback, after a trip to Uganda, said, “African leaders are growing resentful that U.S. dollars are contingent upon acceptance,” of condoms. Brownback said the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, is “in a battle with Western donors,” to keep condom promotion out of his innovative AIDS program.

Green concludes, “It is by no means clear that empirical evidence can overcome ideological blinders or compete with the big business in pharmaceutical products that AIDS prevention has become.”

Read previous coverage of Ugandan AIDS prevention:
U.N.’s Top AIDS Envoy Forgets Diplomacy in Demonizing U.S. Abstinence First Strategy
Ugandan Abstinence AIDS Prevention Program Equivalent to a Highly Effective Vaccine, Researchers Find
Ugandan First Lady Defends Abstinence in Fight against HIV/AIDS



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