Thursday, June 16, 2005

evil lies that will kill us all, pt. 2

More links on abstinence only

1. I was wrong when I said the Heritage Foundation studies weren't available. One of them is here. No Nym, who provided the link, has nice summaries here and here. (Thanks to No Nym!)

2. Check out Helen Epstein's report in the New York Review of Schnookson the effect of abstinence only education on the spread of AIDS in Africa. Much of her focus is on the bogus attempt to spin the success of Uganda's ABC program. (Abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms) as a success for abstinence only. Basically, people are treating the ABC program as if it were an A only program.
Mrs. Museveni's claim that abstinence had triumphed over AIDS in Uganda is incorrect. Between 1988 and 2001, the average age at which young Ugandan women started sexual activity rose by less than a year, even though the national HIV rate fell by some 70 percent.[4] Most Ugandan girls begin having sex at around age seventeen, a year or so younger than in Zimbabwe, where HIV rates are about five times higher. More than half of all Ugandan women have been pregnant by age nineteen. HIV rates in pregnant teenage Ugandan girls fell rapidly during the first half of the 1990s, but during this time, the rate and ages at which these girls became pregnant—a marker of their sexual activity—barely changed at all.[5] Moreover, a study carried out in a rural area of Uganda found that young women who abstain from sex until they are twenty are just as likely to become infected with HIV by age twenty-four as young women who first had sex in their teens

The net effect of spinning the ABC program as an A program is to dismantle one of the only effective anti-AIDS programs in Africa.
But condom programs in Uganda are now threatened. Under pressure from both the Ugandan and US governments, billboards advertising condoms, for years a common sight throughout the country, were taken down in December 2004. Radio ads with such slogans as "LifeGuard condoms! Ribbed for extra pleasure!" were to be replaced with messages from the cardinal of Uganda and the archbishop about the importance of abstinence and faithfulness within marriage. In November 2004, Engabu, a highly popular Ugandan condom brand, was pulled from the shelves because of alleged problems with its manufacture. At the same time, the government now insists that all condoms entering the country be subjected to additional quality control tests. However, Uganda does not have the equipment to carry out such tests, and this has resulted in a shortage of condoms.
Other fun quotes
According to po-lice reports, among the most fre-quent culprits in cases of defilement—or sex with a minor—are Chris-tian pastors, along with teachers and policemen, and a local NGO recently urged pastors to use condoms because they were endangering their congregations.
In order to educate their peers about HIV, the students dress the phallus in a new condom every day, and a fresh box of condoms—free for the taking—is placed at its feet. "He symbolizes the culture of our hall of residence," one of the students explained to me. "He has girlfriends, but he always uses a condom." One afternoon shortly after I arrived, a pastor from a nearby church marched up to the statue, removed its condom, set a match to the box of free condoms, and then prayed over the fire: "I burn these condoms in the name of Jesus!" he boomed, and then promised each student a free Bible.

3. Don't forget Congressman Waxman's usefull report of evil lies that show up in abstinence only programs.

Ok, basically all I have done today is quasi-academic blogging (and some completely non-academic blogging.) I need to do real work.

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