Some Health Workers Criticize Ugandan President’s Comments About Condoms, HIV Prevalence, Washington Post Reports
Recent statements by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that the country's HIV prevalence rate increased with wider access to condoms have "raised some brows" among health professionals, the Washington Post reports. When Uganda's HIV/AIDS prevention efforts began in the 1980s and condoms became more widely available, the country's HIV prevalence increased, Museveni told the Post last week. He added that the recent decrease in Uganda's prevalence is the result of the country's efforts to promote abstinence, according to the Post. "The correct approach is ABC," Museveni said, referring to the "ABC" HIV prevention method -- which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms. He added, "Abstain. If you cannot do the first, try for the second, and only as a last resort, go for the third. If you don't have a condom, why should you commit suicide?" However, Nelson Musoba -- a Ugandan physician and head of the Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS -- said the decrease in Uganda's HIV prevalence cannot be attributed to "one single strategy or cause." He added that Uganda's government has been successful in "laying down a good plan, strategy and health policy. ... Abstinence has helped, and so has the open discussion promoted in schools via the printed word and audiovisual materials, as has the availability of condoms." Uganda's HIV prevalence has decreased from 33% to 7% this year, according to Musoba, who also works as a consultant to the country's Ministry of Health and is in Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to approve $600 million to help fight HIV/AIDS, according to the Post (Boustany, Washington Post, 9/30).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.