Ever wondered why Western agencies continue to insist that the only way to combat AIDS is by the use of condoms, completely ignoring the impact changing behaviour has had in countries like Uganda? The short answer: follow the money. For a slightly longer response, see the articles by Matthew Hanley and Douglas Sylva at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Here's a quote from Dr Sylva's article:

AIDS is unique because, as a deadly pandemic spread mainly through promiscuous sexual activity, it threatens some of the most cherished modern norms concerning sexual liberation. So to promote the most obvious response to such a pandemic—do not engage in promiscuous sexual activity—would in essence be a capitulation, an admission that the dream of consequence-free sexual activity was not only impossible, but perhaps at least partly responsible for the scourge.

Enter the lowly condom. As an alternative to a sound and sensible risk avoidance strategy, the international community found the only readily available device that held out some promise of risk reduction, of lessening the risk of infection caused by promiscuous sexual activity. The United Nations launched a massive, worldwide, comprehensive sex education and condom distribution campaign. It has been joined by just about every other institution involved in international development: the European Union, individual nations, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations. This, despite the fact that any significant level of protection would require condoms to be available in their billions, at all possible times and at all possible places, to be used 100 percent of the time, and to be used correctly 100 percent of the time. Nonetheless, condoms and their many imperfections were sold to the people of the developing world as “safe sex.”(6) The nations that embraced this program most emphatically, such as South Africa, saw infection rates continue to soar.

At the same time, a few nations promoted traditional sexual morality—abstinence and fidelity—and they succeeded. These success stories were in turn undermined by the very international AIDS community charged with ridding the world of the disease. The victory in the Philippines, for example, was acknowledged by UNAIDS’ own research: “The Philippines remains a low HIV prevalence country [0.01 percent]. ... The number of HIV/AIDS cases is not expected to increase substantially over the next few years” (emphasis added).(7) The New York Times even admitted that the victory was because of traditional sexual morality: in the Philippines, “a very low rate of condom use and a very low rate of HIV infection seem to be going hand in hand. AIDS-prevention efforts often focus on condoms, but they are not widely available here—and are mostly shunned—in this conservative Roman Catholic country.”(8)

But, despite all of this, UNAIDS announced to the world that there was the “potential for an explosion” of AIDS in the Philippines.(9) Why? It seems that the UN could not admit to a success that would create an alternative to the “safe sex” program. So what did the UN do? It flooded the nation with condoms, thereby encouraging the very behavior that leads to infection.

To read the rest of the article, go here.