Robert Knight

“We understand that casual sex is dear to you, but staying alive is dear to us.”

The Washington Post provided a rare service on Monday, shining light on an unfolding scandal of deadly political correctness in Uganda.

The quote above is from “Let My People Go, AIDS Profiteers,” an op-ed column in the Post by the Rev. Sam L. Ruteikara, co-chair of Uganda’s National AIDS-Prevention Committee.

Ruteikara details how Uganda’s successful ABC campaign (Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condoms as a last resort) recorded huge advances in reducing infections from 1991 through 2002, but was subverted by an AIDS establishment that dislikes Uganda’s emphasis on marriage and faithfulness.

HIV rates plunged from 21 percent in 1991 to 6 percent in 2002 in Uganda during the stricken nation’s campaign to restore traditional morality. Meanwhile, as Western nations dropped more than 2 billion condoms on Africa, other nations suffered an unabated epidemic. Uganda stuck out as the grand exception.

While the media largely ignored this singular success story, AIDS bureaucrats, furious at this living rebuke to their condom-based campaigns, worked to bring Uganda into the “safe-sex” fold.

In March 2007, Washington Post writer Craig Timberg in “Uganda’s Early Gains Against HIV Eroding” described how the initial, “fear”-based approach, which yielded impressive results in the early ’90s, gave way to the more typical condom-based approach in Uganda. He quotes Sam Okware, “a top Ugandan health official who designed early, frightening anti-AIDS campaigns. ‘It has adapted too much to international guidelines instead of sticking to our own methods, which were very controversial at first but which worked.’”

In his June 30 column, Ruteikara relates, “I have seen the process sabotaged. Repeatedly, our 25-member prevention committee put faithfulness and abstinence into the National Strategic Plan that guides how PEPFAR [President’s Emergency Plan for HIV-AIDS Relief] money for our country will be spent. Repeatedly, foreign advisers erased our recommendations. When the document draft was published, fidelity and abstinence were missing.”


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.