Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
New York Times Reporter Examines Reasons for Decline in New HIV Cases in Kenya
New York Times reporter Celia Dugger on Thursday in a column examined how Kenya, where some experts say the HIV/AIDS epidemic has "show[n] signs of easing," has attracted the attention of "policy makers and researchers looking for keys to slowing the relentless spread" of the epidemic throughout Africa. A decreasing number of new annual HIV cases suggests that changes in sexual behavior, such as men having fewer partners and teens beginning sexual activity at an older age, in part are contributing to the decline, according to Dugger. This suggests that abstinence programs "have some chance of success." However, some advocates have said a focus by many U.S.-funded programs on abstinence has hindered other prevention programs, including those advocating condom use, she writes. Some scholars have called for more research to determine whether programs promoting abstinence until marriage and fidelity or programs promoting condom use are most effective, "[b]ut efforts to prevent the spread of [HIV/]AIDS will not wait for definitive evidence," Dugger writes. "In societies where sex can lead to death," many people agree that young people should be taught abstinence, but "[i]t is also clear that many young people will have sex despite the dangers, and that abstinence programs alone will not protect them," she concludes (Dugger, New York Times, 5/18).
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