Financial Times Examines Debate Surrounding Uganda’s HIV/AIDS Campaign, Condom Shortage
The Financial Times on Tuesday examined the debate surrounding Uganda's HIV/AIDS prevention campaign, which advocates say has shifted to focus more on abstinence and less on condoms. The Ugandan government is "at the center of a highly charged debate surrounding the use of condoms and the influence of religion and the U.S. administration" in the country's fight against HIV/AIDS, according to the Times (England, Financial Times, 10/4). U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis and other AIDS advocates in August said the Bush administration's policy of promoting abstinence prevention programs and cuts in federal funding for condoms have contributed to a condom shortage in Uganda and undermined the country's HIV/AIDS fight. Uganda needs between 120 million and 150 million condoms annually, but since October 2004 only 32 million have been distributed in the country, according to the U.S.-based Center for Health and Gender Equity, also known as CHANGE. The alleged shortage began in October 2004 when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ordered a nationwide recall of condoms that were distributed at no cost in government health clinics under the brand name Engabu, saying they were of poor quality (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/8). However, U.S. officials deny that U.S. policy is fueling a condom shortage in Uganda, and Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul called the accusations "utter rubbish" (Financial Times, 10/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.