Dismay as Uganda moves away from condom promotion.Uganda is redirecting its HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. prevention strategy for young people away from scientifically proven and effective strategies toward ideologically driven programmes that focus primarily on promoting sexual abstinence Sexual abstinence is the practice of voluntarily refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. Common reasons to deliberately abstain from the physical expression of sexual desire include religious or philosophical reasons (e.g. until marriage. This redirection of HIV/AIDS policies is manifest at all levels, from the president's office to the classroom. In November 2004 the Uganda AIDS Commission released a draft "Abstinence abstinence: see fasting; temperance movements. and Being Faithful (AB)" policy to guide the implementation of abstinence-until-marriage programmes throughout the country. Intended as a companion to the country's existing strategy on the promotion of condoms, the policy in fact undermines condoms as an HIV prevention measure and suggests that promoting condoms alongside abstinence messages would be "confusing" to youth. The new school curriculum excludes information on safer sex and HIV risks within marriage, and early drafts, yet to be finalised, provide misleading information about the effectiveness of condoms in the prevention of HIV transmission.
In October 2004 the Ministry of Health issued a nationwide recall of all free government condoms, in response to "failed quality control tests" although the test results varied between laboratories and have been challenged by the manufacturers. The government has also demanded the re-testing of already tested, imported condoms, leading to forecasts of a national condom 1. condom - The protective plastic bag that accompanies 3.5-inch microfloppy diskettes. Rarely, also used of (paper) disk envelopes. Unlike the write protect tab, the condom (when left on) not only impedes the practice of SEX but has also been shown to have a high failure shortage and an increase in importation costs of more than 500%. Rather than take steps to address the shortage, Uganda's Minister of State for Primary Health Care stated "As a Ministry, we have realised that abstinence and being faithful to one's partner are the only sure ways to curb AIDS. From next year, the Ministry is going to be less involved in condom importation but more involved in awareness campaigns, abstinence and behaviour change."
The influence of US-driven policy is obvious despite substantial evidence from within the US that abstinence-only programmes have little influence on participants' sexual behaviour and may cause harm by discouraging the use of contraception and increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections when sex is initiated. An estimated 6% of the adult population in Uganda is currently infected with HIV, significantly less than the estimated 15% national prevalence a decade ago and Uganda has been rightly praised for this achievement. However, the country still faces a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic and cannot afford to drop proven HIV prevention strategies and adopt discredited ones. (1,2)
In 1992 only 2% of the predominantly Catholic population of Rakai district Rakai is a district in south-central Uganda. Like other Ugandan districts, it is named after its 'chief town'. The district borders the northwestern Tanzanian district of Kagera to the south. As a result, it experiences much cross border commercial traffic to and from Bukoba. used condoms even though HIV prevalence locally was 44%. Now, despite the campaign against condoms by the church, around 66% of the population use condoms and HIV/AIDS prevalence has been reduced to 12%. (3)
(1.) Human Rights Watch. The less they know, the better: abstinence-only HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda. At: <hrw.org/reports]2005/uganda0305>.
(2.) Bass E. Fighting to close the condom gap in Uganda. Lancet 2005;365:1127-28.
(3.) Condom use in Rakai, Uganda, reaches 66% [Update]. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights Reproductive rights or procreative liberty is what supporters view as human rights in areas of sexual reproduction. Advocates of reproductive rights support the right to control one's reproductive functions, such as the rights to reproduce (such as opposition to forced Newsletter 2005;84(1):27.