A thought provoking article by The Rev. Sam L. Ruteikara co-chair of Uganda’s National AIDS-Prevention Programme, appeared in the Washington Post on Monday last June 30th.
Rev. Ruteikara points out that the Ugandan success in reducing the proportion of Ugandans infected by AIDS from 21% in 1991 to 6% in 2002 was substantially due to the message “stick to one partner’. The main thrust of the Ugandan programme, known as the ABC programme, was that people should abstain from sexual activity before marriage and be faithful to their spouse when they marry. Condoms were only promoted in the Ugandan programme as a last resort. Unfortunately this successful approach has been subverted by so-called experts whose approach rejects both abstinence and faithfulness and pushes condom use as the main preventative measure. This has resulted in a rise in HIV infection rates.
The Rev. Ruteikara make a heartfelt plea for the international community to respect traditional African values and makes a plea to those who seek to profit from the misery of others “Let my people go”
Having attended UN Human Rights Commission sessions in Geneva over the years I sympathise with the Rev. Ruteikara. I have witnessed serious proposals based on the Ugandan model of abstinence and faithfulness being sneered at and rejected by many of the western countries, basically because words such as 'abstinence' and 'fidelity' are anathema to the ideology prevalant in most western nations. But as Rev. Ruteikara states in his article:
We understand that casual sex is dear to you, but staying alive is dear to us. Listen to African wisdom, and we will show you how to prevent AIDS.