Epidemiologic primer: Museveni confuses cause with effect

From the KaiserNetwork | Some Health Workers Criticize Ugandan President’s Comments About Condoms, HIV Prevalence, Washington Post Reports

Recent statements by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that the
country’s HIV prevalence rate increased with wider access to condoms
have “raised some brows” among health professionals, the Washington Post
reports. When Uganda’s HIV/AIDS prevention efforts began in the 1980s
and condoms became more widely available, the country’s HIV prevalence
increased, Museveni told the Post ast week. He added
that the recent decrease in Uganda’s prevalence is the result of the
country’s efforts to promote abstinence, according to the Post.
“The correct approach is ABC,” Museveni said, referring to the “ABC”
HIV prevention method — which stands for abstinence, be faithful and
use condoms. He added, “Abstain. If you cannot do the first, try for
the second, and only as a last resort, go for the third. If you don’t
have a condom, why should you commit suicide?” However, Nelson Musoba
— a Ugandan physician and head of the Action Group for Health, Human
Rights and HIV/AIDS — said the decrease in Uganda’s HIV prevalence
cannot be attributed to “one single strategy or cause.” He added that
Uganda’s government has been successful in “laying down a good plan,
strategy and health policy. … Abstinence has helped, and so has the
open discussion promoted in schools via the printed word and
audiovisual materials, as has the availability of condoms.” Uganda’s
HIV prevalence has decreased from 33% to 7% this year, according to
Musoba, who also works as a consultant to the country’s Ministry of Health
and is in Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to approve $600 million
to help fight HIV/AIDS, according to the Post (Boustany, Washington
Post, 9/30).

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