Condomites In UN Attack Uganda
The UN chimed in today, blaming "abstinence-only" programs foisted by the "fundamentalist Christian ideology [that is] driving Washington's AIDS assistance program ... with disasterous results, including condom shortages in Uganda."
The UN should know this, but:
The U.S. program is not "abstinence-only;" it is "abstinence-emphasizing." From a White House news release:
Emphasizing Abstinence: Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the President's 2004 State of the Union Address, he called for a new emphasis on abstinence-only education, and doubling the funding for abstinence-only programs.Note: Reader Steve points out the subhead says "Emphasizing Abstinence," while the text says "abstinence only." I apologize for the confusion. However, the Uganda program is an "ABC" program -- Abstinence Before Condoms. It emphasizes abstinence, but clearly supports condom use as superior to no protection, as the recent order for 145 million condoms by the Ugandan government makes clear.
The results are not disasterous. Uganda has the lowest AIDS infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
There may be a shortage of condoms in Uganda, but it is not for lack of ordering. As Iposted earlier today, Ugandan State Minister for Health Mike Makala said yesterday:
We have enough condoms. We just procured 65 million condoms about two months ago and another 80 million is on the way, so there is no shortage of condoms in the country.Reuters counters this:
But Jodi Jacobson of the U.S.-based Center for Health and Gender Equity said the about-turn in Uganda's previous policy to promote condoms was having a real impact -- reducing availability of condoms and cutting consumer confidence in them.
"They are kow-towing to the (U.S.) fundamentalist right on this issue," Jacobson said.
Jacobson's employer is a South African NGO which has few mentions of Uganda on its Web site, and none that are critical of the country's programs. It is funded by a number of national and private sources, including noted US liberal foundations Ford and Rockefeller.
Just so we know, here's what the Bush administration is doing, besides being far and away the #1 supporter of Global Fund's programming:
- Immediate availability of $20 million in new funding to deliver life-saving drugs to the men and women in the United States living with HIV/AIDS who are waiting today for HIV-related medication;
- Support for the reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act based upon the principles of focusing Federal resources on life-extending care;ensuring flexibility to target resources to address areas of greatest need; and ensuring results;
- Second distribution of available funding for the focus countries of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- $500 million -- will soon be on its way to organizations working in the field to provide antiretroviral therapy, promote prevention, care for orphans, and build the health system capacity in Africa and the Caribbean.
Finger-Pointing In Uganda
Ugandan AIDS Cut Unprecedented
Uganda AIDS Cut More Suspicious
Uganda Punished for Abstinence?