By Meg Jalsevac

EUFAULA, Alabama, October 30, 2006 ( – An Oct. 28 New York Times article has exposed the self-serving business and political interests behind the U.S. export of billions of condoms to under-developed and developing countries as part of the nations’ foreign aid and international AIDS programs.
  Despite the detrimental effects, both societal and physical of such so-called aid, the past two decades have seen both Republican and Democratic senators alike treating the manufacture of billions of condoms as a purely economic perk and fighting for the manufacturing to remain in the US.ÂÂ

The Bush administration has spent billions of dollars in itsÂrecently intensified global AIDS plan.ÂOf that money, one-third must be spent on promoting abstinence programs such as the Ugandan ABC program. However, that still leaves billions of new dollars for family planning and population control programs.Â

Despite a Bush administration policy change in 2004 that let African countries use foreign aid for food, medical supplies and abstinence programs instead of solely for condom distribution, an even greater number of condoms are now being shippedÂeach year with the false promise that they will protect against AIDS.Â

Over the last couple of decades, through its global plan to fight AIDS, the United States has supplied over nine billion condoms to developing countries. This has made the US the largest condom donor in the world.

Dr. Robert Walley, medical director of Mater Care Internation, says that such condom-pushing policies are being implemented to the detriment of basic medical care. He says of funding,“While billions of dollars have been spent on abortion and birth control programs, only a small fraction is focused on providing emergency obstetric services.” Walley argues that foreign aid is used only to promote “reproductive health, which is the euphemism for abortion and contraception, to the population,” while women are being refused basic obstetric care because of lack of supplies and funding.Â

Dr. Margaret Ogola, medical director of the Cottolengo Hospice in Nairobi, Kenya for HIV-positive orphans, stresses the fact that condom distribution from the western world has erroneously influenced African youth to believe that condoms are reliable in preventing AIDS and other STDs. Dr. Ogola says that the results of such ‘safe-sex’ indoctrination have been devastating to the young African population. At a 1999 World Congress of Families in Geneva, she said that condoms have about a 30 percent failure rate and have facilitated the disregard of the traditional taboos surrounding sex outside marriage which in turn has lead to the AIDS epidemic throughout Africa.ÂÂÂ

In 2004, Dr. Hearst of the University of California in San Francisco gave a lecture on the alarming AIDs statistics in certain African countries. He says that as condom distribution numbers increase, so to do AIDs infection numbers increase at a similar rate. Hearst said that we are “raising a generation of young people in Africa that believe that condoms will prevent HIV.” The numbers belie this belief and the young people of Africa are the victims that must suffer the consequences of such erroneous propaganda.ÂÂÂ

Uganda has one of the lowest AIDS rates in all of Africa. It dropped in recent years from a 30% rate to a 6% rate. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni attributes this success in curbing the AIDs epidemic to their ABC abstinence program which promotes abstinence and sex only within a monogamous marriage. Museveni says that AIDS will only be successfully combated with “optimal relationships based on love and trust instead of institutionalized mistrust which is what the condom is all about.”

Ugandan first lady and Museveni’s wife, Janet Museveni, has spoken widely on abstinence and the failure of condoms. At a youth conference in Kampala, Museveni exposed the ‘condom-pushers’ as money hungry and told African youth, “Don’t give your airtime to anyone talking to you about using condoms.” Rather, she encouraged abstinence until marriage saying, “You can choose to fight AIDS by saying no and be able to stay alive.”

With Museveni’s financial accusation ringing in one’s ears, it is interesting to see the financial statistics surrounding condom manufacturing. The New York Times article reports that a factory in Alabama retains most rights to the US government condom contract and is set to manufacture some 201 million condoms for this upcoming year. It charges 5cents a condom. Foreign manufacturers in Korea and China that will make 100 million condoms each charge 2 cents a condom.Â

Michael Brumas, spokesman for the current Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions says, “What’s wrong with helping the American worker at the same time we are helping people around the world?”

As Bob Lester, former lawyer for the United States Agency for International development said, “At the end of the day, it’s all a political process.”

See New York Times article:
  Condoms made in U.S. shape foreign aid policy