A key player in the prevention controversy documents how the AIDS establishment has betrayed the developing world.
Dale O’Leary in MercatorNet
Harvard University researcher Edward Green rose to prominence in the AIDS controversy with his 2003 book, Rethinking AIDS Prevention. His new book, Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment has Betrayed the Developing World, chronicles the continuing battle over how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Green, a key player in the struggle, documents how two radically different strategies have competed for funding and support.
The first is ABC: Abstinence (or delay of sexual debut); Be faithful (only one sexual partner); Condoms for those who engage in high risk behavior in spite of warnings and for couples where one is already infected. This is a risk elimination strategy
The second is the condom code. The supporters of condoms as the primary prevention method insist that any program be “sex positive”. In other words, there is no need for anyone to change their sexual behavior as long as they use a condom every time. This is a risk reduction strategy since new infections would not be eliminated, only reduced, given the known failure rate of condoms and the fact that even the most motivated sexually active persons rarely achieve 100 per cent usage.
Green and others studied the results of condom programs:
We simply compared the prevalence of HIV among people in three groups: those who never used condoms, sometimes did, and always did. And we found no association between HIV status and consistent condom use… those who reported using a condom with every sex act were just as likely to have HIV as those who had never used one at all…we also found that inconsistent users had the same or greater HIV prevalence as non-users… And sporadic use is the norm in Africa and in countries everywhere. (pp 223-4)
As an anthropologist with years of experience in field work, Green was trained to listen to the local people. He familiarized himself with their traditions and customs. He takes great pains in the book to point out that he is not a social conservative or a religious zealot, but a professional who respects the people he studies. Before becoming involved in the battle over AIDS prevention, he worked for population control groups and on a condom marketing study. He approached the problem of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa with an open mind, seeking to discover which strategies worked (that is, decreased new infections) and which strategies failed.