Abstinence Alone Protects Fully Against HIV, Ugandan First Lady Tells Youth

Janet Museveni, First Lady of Uganda, has continued her strong support for the country's successful abstinence campaign against HIV/AIDS with a statement encouraging youth to live lives of "love, faith and purity," New Vision reported December 2.

"I would not be caught advising you to take any shortcuts or compromise your lives by using any device invented by man, such as condoms, in order to facilitate any desire to go against God's clear plan for your life," Mrs. Museveni told students at the Uganda Christian University, Mukono, for World AIDS Day.

"God's plan for your life is that you should honor your body because it is His temple."

Warning the young people that they should not be complacent as HIV infection rates rise, Mrs. Museveni asked them to encourage other students to abstain from premarital sex.

Ugandan President Museveni and his wife introduced a program encouraging sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity afterwards, in an attempt to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

The program has been harshly condemned by international organizations promoting condom use, but in fact Ugandan HIV transmission rates dropped by as much as 75% in some regions after the program was introduced, down to 5-7% from a high of 18%.

Uganda is in an ongoing struggle with Western NGOs pushing condom use in the country. UNICEF, the UNFPA, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are among those organizations relying on condom promotion for AIDS prevention in African nations. The UN has openly opposed the use of abstinence programs as a successful alternative to Western approaches on lessening virus transmission rates.

Criticism of the West's emphasis on condom use has been growing, as HIV/AIDS transmission rates show no signs of slowing after years of condom promotion. Medical journalist Sue Ellin Browder reported in June 2006 on evidence showing dramatic increases in condom distribution in African nations paralleled an explosion in HIV/AIDS infection rates.

"So far, there's no good evidence that condoms will reverse population-wide epidemics like those in sub-Saharan Africa," Browder wrote for Crisis Magazine.

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