Magazine article New Internationalist

African Sexual-Health Programmes 'Misguided'

Magazine article New Internationalist

African Sexual-Health Programmes 'Misguided'

Article excerpt

Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, experts have assumed that anal sex was virtually non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa. In the July International Journal of STD and AIDS, medical psychologist Dr Stuart Brody and epidemiologist Mr John Potterat describe `compelling evidence' to challenge this view, with important implications for HIV prevention programmes.

Currently, anti-AIDS education in Africa focuses on `heterosexual transmission', usually taken to mean vaginal sex. According to Brody and Potterat, the fact that health warnings have avoided mentioning anal sex - despite its `substantially greater' risk of HIV transmission - may have contributed to the AIDS epidemic. Their research suggests that both men and women in Africa have receptive anal intercourse, often believing it to be `safe' since it is not featured in public health-education programmes.

Anthropological reports of African male homosexuality date back to the early 17th century. …

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