“New HIV Infections Outpace Treatment“, says the Associated Press. The good news? More Africans are receiving retroviral drugs. The bad news? Infection rates are still out of control.
I think part of the problem is that a significant portion of the money going to Africa, at least from the US government, is tagged to abstinence-only education. This is ridiculous! I resent the fact that my tax dollars are supporting a religious-based, rather than evidence-based method of fighting HIV. I have no problem if someone wants to donate their own money to an abstinence-only campaign – go ahead – but I do not agree that only teaching abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of STDs, and it is unfair to force me to support it financially.
More people are becoming infected everyday, which means more people dying prematurely – many of these deaths can be prevented if we abandon the abstinence-only approach. There is nothing wrong with teaching abstinence, and I don’t think you’ll find many people arguing that abstinence doesn’t help, but it must go hand in hand with promoting proper condom use for those who will inevitably choose to have sex. Uganda was successful in its “ABC” campaign (Abstinence, Be faithful, and use Condoms), so why would we abandon this approach?
I file this one under religion, unnecessary regulation, and health care: religion, because religious views are behind the approach; unnecessary regulation, because I am being forced to financially support a program where money is unfairly tied to these views instead of letting people choose which ABC option is best; and health care, because people are dying everyday because someone in Washington thinks they know what’s best for them.