Should Promoting Abstinence and Being Faithful be Part of U.S. AIDS Prevention Programs?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 27, 2008
PEPFAR World AIDS Day 2007 Poster

The President's AIDS intiative has provided treatment for 1.5 million people, prevented HIV transmission in over 10 million pregnancies and provided care for almost 3 million orphans in 15 countries in Africa and other regions. The initative also supports AIDS prevention efforts using the "ABC" (abstinence, be faithful, condoms) model. Some individuals say that programs asking people to not have sex or to limit their sexual activities are not effective. Since the President has asked Congress to double funds for all parts of his AIDS initiative we decided to ask you:

Do you think programs promoting abstinence and being faithful should be part of our AIDS prevention efforts? What else do you think can be done to help prevent AIDS and to treat those who are infected with HIV?

Comments

Comments

Ronald
|
New York, USA
February 28, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

ABC's of AIDS... OK...here goes:

For many Africans who are engaging in drug use and/or risky sex or sex formoney for drugs, or sex for economic survival...the ABC's of HIV/AIDS are "always be careful not to get caught by the authorities."

Keeping HIV/AIDS prevention and care funding in the proscribed circle of faith-based and mainstream community life, is like focusing on diabetics who are maintaining good sugar levels. They really don't need the help as much as those high-risk groups on the margins of society.

If we really want to prevent HIV and other STD's, and truly care for PLWA's, we need to provide resources in prisons, drug rehab centers, homeless shelters, and other places far from the steps of churches and hospitals. If the USG does these things, without moral dictums and restraints, the special needs groups will do better, and the general population will be infected and affected to a lesser degree.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 28, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It is only common sense to promote all things that work, to discard what doesn't, and to do so without agenda other than to save lives. Yet implementing strategy while respecting the difference between the mandate of nations and the mandate of individuals to employ common sense of their free will.

It is completely appropriate to educate the people as to all the options available to better the human condition as part of a nation's mandate to deal with disease, of any form.

Danielle
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 28, 2008

Danielle in Washington, DC writes:

I don't think that promoting abstinence education should be tied to AIDs funding. Instead, that money would be better spent on increasing AIDs awareness in these countries, where the stigma of AIDs or HIV can prevent those who are infected from seeking treatment or medical help. This ABC model also ignores rape, which can't be solved through ABC education. It's admirable to increase funding for an AIDs initiative, but tying it to this type of model is restricting and ignores the reality in many of the countries that rely on U.S. funding.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
February 29, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

And while we are on the topic...

USG representatives at a Vienna UN Drug policy session on Drug Addiction/HIV/AIDS actually stated,

"The USG is against providing (paying for) narcotics or opium-based drugs in the treatment of HIV/AIDS infected addicts...Unless it is morphine at the end of the end-stage of life."

It is this kind of comment that destroys our credibiliy as a caring partner in the world community. No matter how many billions we contribute; the world remembers our cold and cynical outlook.

Brach
|
Arizona, USA
February 29, 2008

Brach in Arizona writes:

I think safeguarding against AIDS should be done with common sense and approached by governments with the mind set that people are going to have sex. Whether the sex is premarital or not, is not the issue, and while condoms are excellent, it is not the only answer. What about advocating for the testing of HIV and then upon a positive result, an avenue for which HIV positive people can seek different directions of treatment.

Joe
|
Arizona, USA
March 1, 2008

Joe in Arizona writes:

I do not know if it is appropriate to use tax payer money to support or even subsidize promiscuity (which statistically is the group with the highest risk of contracting the virus) while discouraging personal responsibility.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
March 1, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

The 2008 High-Level Meeting on AIDS will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 10 - 11 June. An on-line application is now available for civil society participation in the meeting. THIS FROM THE UN SITE...note the CIVIL Society wording...Civil means:
Of, relating to, or befitting a citizen or citizens or in accordance with organized society. To have an organized society can encompass the moral turpitude of any given society in relation to its surroundings.

I mention this as the idea of mandating morality is seldom successful in an organized society which has already established itself. The common denominator which can be seen in this case however is that while the problem exist worldwide, it is strongest in those societies which have a multitude of problems that cause complete disorganization and have little or no infrastructure to stand on.

America has been one of the leading countries to realize the overall benefit of an organized society- democratic preferred; but, we have helped all.

The AIDS problem is only one of many that can be helped by developing third world and war torn countries to be self sufficient and organized with leadership that has their citizens as a primary developmental cause.

If the entire world would follow our lead in giving aid, development and peace, I believe that would make a great start in ending many problems which will affect us all today and our children tomorrow...WORLDWIDE.

Eliot
|
Hawaii, USA
March 3, 2008

Eliot in Hawaii writes:

It's not just "some individuals" who say that abstinence education doesn't work; it's nearly every study done on the subject. How much money do we want to spend telling people in other countries not to have sex? Especially if there's no evidence that such programs actually work?

Josh
|
Colorado, USA
March 3, 2008

Josh in Colorado writes:

Quite simply, no. At least, we can't have abstinence and being faithful be the primary thrust of our efforts to curb the spread of AIDS. Education, especially education coming from local government officials, clergy and other people in positions of influence must be the primary focus now and until a cure for this virus is found.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
March 4, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. I'm afraid you do not realize which facts are missing from the studies: they are premised on ORGANIZED societies and fail completely to use a Productive Time REPLACEMENT factor. The people have little to do with their time beyond existence and survival.

2. Much of the problem is also related to rape and the lack of an enforceable and fair legal system... Where is that factored in? It is a Major problem throughout Africa.

In summary, it is about creation of an organized and productive society.

Bob
|
New Jersey, USA
March 4, 2008

Bob in New Jersey writes:

I have a hard time reading the posts that say no we shouldn't because it has been proven it doesn't work in response to a question, in which you have provided statistics in the question showing that it has worked. If you are listening to the commenters, you should respond not with OK I hear you but with a statement of the statistics. If it doesn't work, these successes you mentioned in countries where ABC is the policy, didn't happen.

In my opinion ABC sends a logical approach and if you have statistics that prove it doesn't, show me.

Zharkov
|
United States
March 5, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

It is the royal prerogative of the emperor to decree how his subjects should conduct themselves, so of course, it is a good idea to proclaim abstinence to prevent AIDs. The question that is never answered by government is, why should American taxpayers pay for health care for Africa when we can't even afford to pay for our own?

Surely it is a good idea to save African lives, so why not spend American money to do so? Because the money was taken from taxpayers at gunpoint. If Americans wish to voluntarily donate a portion of their taxes to charity, they can already do so. Many charity organizations are also working to stop AIDs in Africa. The president has no constitutional authority to make gifts of government funds.

Unchosen, mandatory obligations are state slavery, which should be obvious because the obligations are not chosen. In claiming or bestowing unchosen positive obligations onto U.S. citizens, it is the demanding authorities who must face a burden of proof. The president, who claims that citizens have unchosen positive obligations to pay for African health care is the one who must prove that citizens owe some kind of duty to Africa. In the absence of any objectively definable duty previously owed, the claim is false and fraudulent. To claim an abstract positive right to the money of citizens for the benefit of non-citizens,is to claim authority over them by definition. Someone who must fulfill this unchosen positive obligation is engaging in involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude is slavery and slavery is un-American and undemocratic.

Eliot
|
Hawaii, USA
March 5, 2008

Eliot in Hawaii writes:

Bob in New Jersey asks for a citation of sources. Here are some:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20492

"In fiscal year 2006, by design, less than a quarter of PEPFAR's budget was spent on prevention, and a hefty chunk of that went for the useless abstinence campaigns. In a revealing incident earlier this year, the American ambassador to South Africa sent a letter to PEPFAR contractors telling them to cut back on prevention -- but not treatment -- activities for the next year because of a budget squeeze. He said: "Our priority must be delivery of treatment services."

http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/abstinencereport.asp

"A recent study of four abstinence education programs, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., finds that the programs had no effect on the sexual abstinence of youth."

Purported successes of the overall program notwithstanding, if any part of it is inefficient or ineffective it should be eliminated.

.

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