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March 31, 2005

Fundies Ban Condoms, People Die

by Red Wolf

Zambia: Hot on the heels of one story about the problems caused by loony fundies blocking access to condoms is another one, this time from Zambia.

Bush is running a program against AIDS in Africa based on — you guessed it — sexual abstinence and marital fidelity, relegating condoms a distant third. All well and good, aside from the small fact that it's killing people.

The stark reality is that what kills young women here is often not promiscuity, but marriage. Indeed, just about the deadliest thing a woman in southern Africa can do is get married.

And why, I hear you ask. Surely if people are married, there is no need for condoms. Well, only if you live in a bubble and not in the real world.

Mrs Sibanda is an educated woman and lovely English-speaker who married a man who could find a job only in another city. She suspected that he had a girlfriend there, but he would return to the village every couple of months to visit her.

I asked him to use a condom, she said, but he refused. There was nothing I could do.

He died two years ago, apparently of AIDS. Now Mrs Sibanda worries that she and her beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Amanda, have HIV as well...

...The fact is that condoms have played a crucial role in the campaigns against AIDS that have been relatively successful, from Thailand's 100 percent condom program to the efforts in Uganda, Cambodia and Senegal. And condoms don't cause sex any more than umbrellas cause rain.

In theory, everybody agrees on how to prevent AIDS: the ABC method, which stands for abstinence, being faithful and condoms. But the Bush administration interprets this as ABc. New administration guidelines stipulate that US-financed AIDS programs for young people must focus on abstinence or, for those who are already sexually active, returning to abstinence...

...The irony is that President Bush's plan to tackle AIDS in Africa — spending far more than any previous administration — could be one of his best and most important legacies. It tackles one of the most important humanitarian challenges in the world today: at present infection rates in Zimbabwe, 85 percent of today's 15-year-olds will die of AIDS.

Save us from the self-righteous do-gooders of the world.

When Marriage Kills - New York Times, 30th March 2005.

Posted in Love Thy Neighbour at 03:38. Last modified on September 28 2006 at 23:43.
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