AIDS Rises With Abstinence Push
HIV infection rates were dropping for a decade in Uganda until that country began emphasizing abstinence over condom use — like in Bush & Co.’s Bible-based, sexually prudish mandates. HIV rates are now on the rise again.
Wait, before you go…
The reasons for the increase are not clear, but there has been a shift in the message from Uganda’s leadership. Between the early 1990s and early 2000s, HIV prevalence fell sharply in major cities among pregnant women — the group most commonly monitored because they have contact with health services — as President Yoweri Museveni worked to raise awareness of the dangers of HIV and put the authority of his office behind condom use.
But in recent years, the message on condoms has been diluted in favour of greater emphasis on sexual abstinence until marriage — in line with the thinking of the Bush administration, which is spending millions of dollars on HIV prevention and treatment. Critics say many women are not in a position to abstain from sex and that many are infected by their husbands.
The report says further research is needed to validate the apparent trend “but the current findings do hint at the possible erosion of the gains Uganda made against AIDS in the 1990s.” There is evidence of erratic condom use and more men having sex with multiple partners.
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