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Doing it Right - How the African AIDS Money Should be Spent

Rod Dreher

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President Bush's bold new $15 billion AIDS initiative targeting Africa and the Caribbean debuted to positive reviews from most corners.

And yet, there is serious reason to worry that the plan could turn into a vast boondoggle...because of political correctness and anti-scientific prejudice on the part of Western AIDS professionals.

In the late 1980s, when AIDS first came to Uganda, the Kampala government realized that it was being transmitted through sexual behavior. Authorities rallied religious leaders and others behind a massive campaign to convince the population to change its sexual behavior...The message to the Ugandan people: Abstain from sex if you can, Be faithful to your partner, and if this doesn't work, use a Condom.

It worked brilliantly. Unlike most other African nations, the HIV infection rate peaked in 1991, and has been steadily dropping since...And this successful program, which was devised wholly by the Ugandans themselves, could be implemented with little money.

Why wasn't the Ugandan model embraced and emulated all over Africa?...It has to do with Western scientists, doctors, and AIDS workers having a deep suspicion of, and even antipathy for, any public-health program that smacks of moralizing, or involves religion...[and] a bias in favor of expensive, medical technology-based "solutions," despite their lack of effectiveness...[M]illions of Africans have been condemned to an early and painful death in part because the international AIDS establishment ignored the success of Uganda's faith-based education programs.

Read the entire article on the National Review Online website.



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