Laura Bush’s Promotion of Condoms in Africa ‘Evolutionary,’ But Advocacy for Abstinence and Fidelity Short-Sighted, Opinion Piece Says
Although it was "truly evolutionary" when first lady Laura Bush during a recent trip to Africa advocated the use of condoms as a "last resort" for HIV prevention, her promotion of abstinence and monogamy to African women is "glaringly troubling because they were delivered to the wrong audience," Scripps Howard News Service syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe writes in a Ventura County Star opinion piece. During a meeting with HIV-positive women in South Africa who are working to destigmatize HIV/AIDS, Bush promoted the "ABC" HIV prevention method -- which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms. However, rates of rape -- including child rape -- are high in many African countries, and abstinence and fidelity do not help women who are raped from contracting HIV, Erbe writes. "So, 'Dr.' Laura, ... [w]e appreciate the toll your advocacy of condom use will take on your friendship with some members of America's hard right," Erbe says, concluding, "But we lament the opportunity you lost to have taught these women the CBAs, instead of the ABCs, to prove you are hip to the differences between your reality and theirs" (Erbe, Ventura County Star, 7/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.