April 30, 2004 ( – The African nation of Uganda, until recently suffering one of the worst cases of post-colonial political corruption and social misery, has surpassed all expectations in its AIDS program based on abstinence and social cohesion. Uganda has decreased its rate of AIDS by as much as 75% in some demographics, an unprecedented success in the story of African AIDS combat. Reiterating a study published by the British Medical Journal earlier this month, a group of Cambridge University researchers have attributed the success of the Ugandan program to a later age of first sexual activity and a reduction in sexual promiscuity.  “The outcome was equivalent to a highly effective vaccine”, the researchers say.  The researchers also highlighted the contribution of government sponsored information campaigns that emphasize faithfulness to one partner and discourage sexual “grazing”. The Catholic Church and other Christian and faith-based organizations have been fighting incursions into Uganda of the United Nations condom and abortion promotion campaigns. In January, the Ugandan First Lady, in response to UN claims that the Ugandan program relied on condoms, denied it and told Ugandan young people, “You do not need sex at your age. Wait until you are married. You can choose to fight AIDS by saying no and be able to stay alive.”

The researchers point out that the AIDS rate in Uganda fell dramatically before the imposition of condom campaigns. For other countries to replicate the success of Uganda, the researchers conclude, that there is a need for a “shift in strategic thinking on health policy and HIV/AIDS, with greater attention to epidemiological intelligence and communications to mobilize risk avoidance.”

Coverage of the Cambridge study:   Read previous coverage:


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