PBS’ ‘NewsHour’ Examines PEPFAR Funding in Uganda; Shift From Condom Use to Abstinence Education
PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on Wednesday examined the debate over Uganda's HIV prevention and treatment programs and the view of some advocates and officials that the country's emphasis on prevention has shifted from condom use to abstinence and fidelity (de Sam Lazaro, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 6/28). Uganda has reduced its HIV prevalence by half since 1992, a success that is credited to the "ABC" HIV prevention model -- which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/7). A report released in April by the Government Accountability Office finds that the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator's mandates for how much President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief-funded programs must spend promoting abstinence and faithfulness have caused confusion among many countries and undercut some other HIV prevention programs. The law (HR 1298) authorizing PEPFAR endorses the ABC HIV prevention model and specifies that one-third of PEPFAR's HIV/AIDS prevention funding should be used for abstinence-until-marriage programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/5). PBS reports that some HIV prevention programs in Uganda mention condoms "to question the morality -- or the effectiveness -- of using them." According to Edward Baligonzaki, pastor of a church in Kampala, some pastors redefine the C in the ABC HIV prevention model as "condoms for the condemned. But for the righteous, it is A, B." However, Samuel Okware, acting health minister of Uganda, said the "thrust of the national program is to take care of all the three components. So irrespective of the policies that come from anywhere, the resources or the inputs, our policy has remained the same." The PBS segment also includes comments from Noerine Kaleeba, who founded The AIDS Support Organization in Uganda; Stephen Langa, executive director of the Family Life Network, which conducts abstinence workshops for young people and teachers; Jonathan Mermin, a physician and public health epidemiologist at CDC; Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's President; Beatrice Were, an HIV-positive HIV/AIDS advocate working in Uganda; and an HIV-positive Ugandan woman ("NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 6/28).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. The complete transcript is available online. In addition, another version of the story aired on PBS' "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" on June 16. Video in RealPlayer and Windows Media and a transcript of the June 16 segment is available online.