Aids in Africa
For the first time since the Black Death in the Middle Ages, a disease is sending whole nations into absolute demographic decline. The disease is AIDS, and the continent affected is not Europe but Africa. The magnitude of the devastation that AIDS is wreaking in Africa comes through in a newly published Census Bureau study entitled AIDS Pandemic in the 21st Century, by Karen Stanecki of the Bureau’s Population Division.
Speaking at the 13th International conference on AIDS, held in Durban, South Africa, from July 10-14, 2000, Ms. Stanecki of the US Census Bureau startled listeners by reporting that the populations of several African countries were poised to fall in the near future because of rising levels of HIV infection. The countries of Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa could be filling more coffins than cradles as early as 2003, with several other countries to follow.
Fifteen Million Africans Dead to AIDS
AIDS has swept away almost 15 million Africans to date, and continues to spread with horrifying rapidity, Ms. Stanecki also reported. Because of AIDS, life expectancy in several sub-Saharan African countries will decline to a mere 30 years over the next ten years, crude death rates will double and triple, and infant mortality and mortality rates for children under five years will continue to show dramatic increases. AIDS is also having a significant impact on population growth in Latin America, the Caribbean, and South East Asia.
What Can the U.S. Do to Really Help?
What should the U.S. do to help developing countries in Africa cope with a pandemic that threatens their very existence? Some worthwhile steps have already been taken. The U.S. House of Representatives has increased funding for AIDS prevention programs which, if properly spent promoting chastity, could help check the spread of the disease. It has also tripled the amount of debt relief extended to Third World countries, a measure which will reduce the economic impact of losing a large percentage of the work force to chronic illness and death.
At the same time, however, the U.S. government continues to promote family planning programs, even in countries which are on the verge of demographic disaster. Why is the Agency for International Development aggressively promoting sterilization and contraception—including the use of dangerous abortifacient chemical contraceptives—among the people of the Republic of South Africa, for example? How can population control programs be allowed to continue in countries whose populations are already on the verge of decline? How can the U.S. justify spending tens of millions of dollars each year on population control programs in a continent where each year 2 million people die from AIDS, millions of children are orphaned, and people of all ages are dying from the lack of even the most rudimentary medical care?
U.S. Prevention Only Prevents Babies!
Despite their radically different titles, “AIDS prevention” programs, funded at $260 million, and “population stabilization” programs, funded at $385 million, are eerily similar in operation. Both rely heavily upon the massive and indiscriminate distribution of condoms. In a press release dated 9 July 2000, USAID boasts that to date they have provided one billion condoms through their AIDS prevention efforts. On the USAID Ethiopia web-site, USAID boasts of 24 million condoms socially marketed annually through their family planning efforts in that one country alone. At the grassroots level, programs to control AIDS and fertility assume the same shape: that of a condom.
Increased Condom = More AIDS Victims
A recent article in The Lancet, a premier British medical journal, suggested that a condom-based approach, by creating a false sense of security, had not only failed to stop the spread of AIDS, but has actually exacerbated the problem. Writing in The Lancet, Dr. John Richens and his colleagues at the University College of London suggest that “increased condom use will increase the number of [HIV/AIDS] transmissions that result from condom failure” and could negatively affect the decisions of individuals to “switch from inherently safer strategies of partner selection or fewer partners to the riskier strategy of developing or maintaining higher rates of partner change plus reliance on condoms.” They posit that “a vigorous condom promotion policy could increase rather than decrease unprotected sexual exposure if it has the unintended effect of encouraging a greater overall level of sexual activity.” 1
The emphasis on condoms has also distorted the local health care delivery system, even to the point where shipments of condoms and other contraceptives take priority over much-needed shipments of medical supplies.
Why is a condom-based approach, which has spectacularly failed to stop the spread of AIDS, still being so assiduously promoted by some in Washington? Obviously because it contributes to the goal, still paramount in the minds of the anti-people movement, of further reducing the numbers of Africans. For them, AIDS isn’t enough.
1 John Richens, John Imrie, and Andrew Copas, “Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons,” The Lancet, Volume 355, Number 9201, 29 January 2000, 400-403.
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