HIV/AIDS Increases in US, But Failed US Approach Still Exported to Africa.

In a recent interview with BBC, Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, argued for increased involvement and resources by developed countries-namely the United States-in stemming the tide of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. In addition, he was disappointed in African leaders that allowed “their people to die because they were too embarrassed to talk about condoms.”

His statements are among the many promoting additional funding for programs implementing efforts to fight the epidemic via the exportation of US-style prevention, which readily encourages and promotes condom use in high-risk groups.

Interestingly, it is this very plan that is failing in the US. In the latest “Aids Surveillance Report” published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the statistics on new cases of HIV and those, which eventually transition into AIDs, show stark increases in many of the groups studied. Groups most catechized on the ‘safe sex’ condom based ideology, such as homosexual men, are those with the highest prevalence rates. Between 1999 and 2002, the estimated number of these persons living with HIV/AIDS had jumped from 100,500 to 125,200, despite the almost constant ‘safe sex’ and condom message.

The United States is often used as an example for countries with high prevalence rates, predominantly due to the decreasing death rates for those persons who had contracted AIDS. In the recent CDC report however, the statistics reveal that these decreases are most often due to an increased life span from advanced drug therapies, not decreasing contraction of HIV. It pointed out that “the number of diagnoses of HIV/AIDS.increased steadily” from 1999-2002, and while there have been declines in AIDs incidence in the late ’90s, by 2002, “AIDS diagnosesincreased” within the United States.

Yet, while the contemporary US based approaches are showing increases at home, others that have shown decreases are interestingly being discredited abroad.

As some have pointed out, including most recently Harvard’s Edward Green writing on November 29 in the Washington Post, in African countries “with the highest levels of condom availability-Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya-also have some of the highest HIV rates in the world.”

Despite this trend, as well as HIV/AIDS increases within the US, other initiatives that have worked, such as Uganda’s AIDS approach are being discouraged. The Ugandan program, similar to other initiatives in additional countries, encouraged marital fidelity and abstinence until marriage to combat the epidemic. When foreign health officials, predominantly from the developed countries including the US, attempted to transition the Ugandan program more predominantly towards condom use, extramarital sex rose. As a result, “health officials worry that infection rates may increase as well,” despite the successes under the other programs.

Copyright – Culture of Life Foundation and Institute.