Sex, Morality and AIDS

Article excerpt


At the fourteenth international AIDS conference, the gulf between the United States and the rest of the world widened as US officials touted policies that world health experts agree are ineffective strategies for stemming the pandemic. Without stepped-up prevention efforts, 45 million more people will become infected with HIV by 2010, according to the Global HIV Prevention Working Group. Yet 29 million of these people would never contract the virus if leaders ratcheted up preventive strategies--most crucially teaching the use of condoms.

In European countries, including the Netherlands and Sweden, the promotion of a variety of safe sex practices--abstinence, monogamy and condom use--has reduced teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. In Senegal and Uganda, it has cut the rate of new HIV infections in half. In all these countries and in others, national governments have supported such programs both rhetorically and financially.

The White House, however, wants to expand programs enacted under the Clinton Administration that tie federal funding of sex education to the promotion of abstinence-only curriculums. …