Uganda: ABC AIDS strategy is the way to go



STATISTICS project that in 2010, 100 million people will be HIV-positive globally. As usual, majority of these will be the poor from Africa and Asia. Uganda’s success story of reducing HIV prevalence from 30% to 6% will soon be a gone case. We have forgotten where we came from yet uncertain of the future.

Uganda’s point was clear: AIDS kills, abstain from sex before marriage and be faithful in marriage. Hope was restored and Uganda became a universal focal point on the AIDS issue.

However, the consequences of Uganda’s approach were not business friendly because condom-makers would not sell. Secondly, some organisations earn their daily bread from HIV/AIDS. These advocate the change of the prevention strategy to anything other than ABC.

Today, abstinence is viewed as a primitive and religious act, but I do not agree with that. What matters is my life. A female friend in her 30s told me how a man had live sex with her after having begun with a condom. She was at that time too emotional to resist. She is now infected with AIDS and regrets why she did not choose abstinence.

It is clear to anyone who reads between lines that UNAIDS does not appreciate the ABC model. If, indeed, they supported ABC, their funding would be highest on abstinence.

The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has of late been reluctant to do the right thing — pursuing the ABC strategy. Now in their quest to get funding, the UAC bows down to donor demands. They have become more of reporters on AIDS than “trouble-shooters”. Recently, they reported that AIDS is fast spreading among married people without doing anything to protect marriage. They should defend the ABC strategy, especially before the donors. And where principle is involved, be deaf to expedience. What good is there in getting the money and you lose lives?

Let us make our point clear that we are not about to change our strategy. All Ugandans should rise up to defend this cause at any cost.

We also need to fund abstinence activists and come up with programmes to promote marriage to counter the reports of increased infections among married people.

The secret to success is consistency of purpose and this is what every human being should pursue. We can do our job well in one accord and kick AIDS out of Uganda.

The writer is a counsellor and AIDS activist in Kampala

Publicado en  New vision 14.08.2007 y en 15.08.2007

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