The First Lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, thinks that increasing access to HIV treatment is making Ugandans more promiscuous, according to a story in Sunday’s The New Vision. We’ve certainly seen evidence of that in rich countries, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason it wouldn’t be the same in poorer parts of the World.
So, though we’ve got little clear evidence so far that she’s right, I don’t take issue with her diagnosis. I do, however, take issue with her prescription: cross your legs. That’s right, she’s on her abstinence kick again. It’s hard to know to what extent she’s trying to suck up to George Bush, that global crusader for abstinence who’s government coughed up close to 500 million dollars for HIV in Uganda in 2006 and 2007. But even her formerly pro-condom husband has come over all wobbly about rubbers.
Uganda’s initial prevention efforts were much praised. They have also been much squabbled about. But I think most now agree that HIV transmission fell in the late 1990s because people had fewer partners, and less unprotected sex with the partners most likely to be infected. Some young women started having sex later, but the most solid data we have suggest that by age 23, the early abstainers had caught up with their peers in terms of infection rates. Unlike HIV, abstinence doesn’t last for ever.
Thanks to Adrian for pointing me to the NV article.