Aids experts call for month of sex abstinence
Leading experts fighting the world’s worst Aids epidemic have called on African leaders to head a month-long sexual abstinence campaign, saying it could reduce new infections.Researchers Alan Whiteside and Justin Parkhurst cite scientific evidence that due to ‘‘viral-load spikes’’, a newly infected person is most likely to transmit HIV in the month after they were exposed to it. Up to 45pc of HIV transmissions result from sex during the highly infectious ‘‘spikes’’ period.
Whiteside’s research with Parkhurst, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focused on religious groups, such as Muslims who abstain from sex during Ramadan, and Zimbabwe’s Marange Apostolic sect, which bans sex during Passover.
According to UNAids, predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia have an HIV prevalence rate of 0.2%. The low rate has previously been attributed to the universal practice of male circumcision. But Whiteside argues that practising Muslim men are also protected from HIV by the ban on sex during the daylight hours of Ramadan, as well as strict teachings on alcohol use, homosexuality and extra-marital sex.
Gee, ya mean all that morality stuff is actually good for you?