Sexual Responsibility Leads to Big Cut in HIV in Zimbabwe

Re: Zimbabwe: an HIV prevention success story

Wesley J. Smith has a couple of things to say about this story:
(Note: I do not know Mr. Smith’s religious views, but here he appears not to have any problems with condom use – he just doesn’t see condoms alone as a solution.)

From “Secondhand Smoke”:

The general ABC approach seems to be working in another African country in fighting AIDS–this time Zimbabwe. A=abstinence. B=Be Monogamous. C=If you can’t do A or B, use condoms

We saw the same results in Uganda–until it began to fade as the C option overrode the A and the B.

Mr. Smith on the second story he links to:

That makes sense to me: If you expect people to not control their urges, they won’t.

Alas, the Uganda success story is fading now with a return to soaring of infection rates. From the story:

After a dramatic fall in the incidence of HIV/Aids in Uganda in the 1990s, the pandemic is spreading again in the east African country, a government report released this week showed.  A little over 90 000 people contracted the HIV virus in 2008, nudging the infection rate to 6.4% from 6%  four years ago, The New Vision newspaper on Thursday quoted the report that was released by the presidency on Tuesday as saying

One cause cited in the story, an increase in laxity toward the A and the B.

Now that’s just simple common sense, and yet I have not heard this from our usual media sources, or from bodies such as the U.N. Maybe the stories just slipped under my radar??

We’ve already discussed this study, back when it was released, over in the World News forum. Unfortunately, the newer UNAIDS article is seriously misleading about the firmness of the study’s conclusions.

The study does not look at transmission of HIV, it looks at prevalence of HIV. The study notes that prevalence of HIV has decreased and then speculates about why that might have occurred. The study offers reasonable suggestions, but they are post factum theories. Sadly, a major possible reason for the decline of prevalence of HIV, which the study doesn’t take into consideration, is a grim one.

Zimbabwe suffered through a monumental collapse of its economy and medical system during those years. In fact, the country had negative population growth in 2006 and 2008. It is entirely possible that HIV prevalence is lower simply because a large number of infected persons died during that terrible time in Zimbabwe.

But we don’t know why the prevalence decreased. The study, which is more of an academic paper, simply offers up some possibilities for discussion.

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