Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has caused a major divide among participants of the AIDS Conference in Thailand

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has caused a major divide among participants at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Thailand by stating that abstinence and marriage are the best ways to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

He said, "the use of condoms is not the ultimate solution in the fight against HIV-AIDS. Uganda has been one of the few African nations to successfully reduce its AIDS infection rate, using what has become known as the ABC method - Abstinence, Being Faithful and Condoms."

The HIV/AIDS story in Uganda is one of rare success for the African continent.Since the Ugandan government created the ABC program infection rates have fallen from 30% to about 6% of the Ugandan population.

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.*

  • Using a latex condom to prevent transmission of HIV is more than 10,000 times safer than not using a condom.
  • A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine observed heterosexual couples where one was HIV-positive and the other was HIV-negative, for an average of 20 months. (These couples are referred to as sero-discordant.) Findings included:
    • No sero-conversion occurred among the 124 couples who used latex condoms consistently and correctly for vaginal or anal intercourse.
    • Ten percent of the HIV-negative partners (12 of 121) of couples became infected when condoms were used inconsistently for vaginal or anal intercourse. In contrast, 15 percent of HIV-negative partners became infected when condoms were not used.
  • A study published in The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes observed sero-discordant heterosexual couples and showed that only three out of 171 who consistently and correctly used condoms became HIV infected
    • eight out of 55 who used condoms inconsistently became HIV infected
    • and eight out of 79 who never used condoms became HIV infected.

In the past, public health experts recommended using condoms combined with Nonoxynol-9 (N-9), a spermicide, for increased protection against pregnancy, HIV, and STD's. Two recent studies, however, call into question the effectiveness and safety of N-9.

A study published by UNAIDS found that N-9 used without condoms was ineffective against HIV transmission. This study actually showed some evidence that N-9 increased the risk of HIV-infection.

Researchers note that this study was conducted among commercial sex workers in Africa who are at increased risk and used a N-9 gel on a frequent basis. The adverse affects might not be seen at the same level among women who are using N-9 less frequently or in a different formulation.

As a result of this study, however, the CDC concluded that "given that N-9 has been proven ineffective against HIV transmission, the possibility of risk, with no benefit, indicates that N-9 should not be recommended as an effective means of HIV-prevention."

A similar study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that N-9, when used with condoms, did not protect women from the bacteria that causes gonorrhea and chlamydial infection any better than condoms used alone.

*. F. Carey, et al., "Effectiveness of Latex Condoms As a Barrier to Human Immunodeficiency Virus-sized Particles under the Conditions of Simulated Use," Sexually Transmitted Diseases, July/August 1992, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 230.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
Analysis shows dramatic fall in the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV in England