Washington Post Tells the Truth about 'Safe Sex' -- Then Ignores It

The Washington Post provided a rare service on Monday, shining light on an unfolding scandal of deadly political correctness in Uganda

The quote above is from “Let My People Go, AIDS Profiteers,” an op-ed column in the Post by the Rev. Sam L. Ruteikara, co-chair of Uganda's National AIDS-Prevention Committee. 

Ruteikara details how Uganda's successful ABC campaign (Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condoms as a last resort) recorded huge advances in reducing infections from 1991 through 2002, but was subverted by an AIDS establishment that dislikes Uganda's emphasis on marriage and faithfulness.  

HIV rates plunged from 21 percent in 1991 to 6 percent in 2002 in Uganda during the stricken nation's campaign to restore traditional morality. Meanwhile, as Western nations dropped more than 2 billion condoms on Africa, other nations suffered an unabated epidemic. Uganda stuck out as the grand exception. 

While the media largely ignored this singular success story, AIDS bureaucrats, furious at this living rebuke to their condom-based campaigns, worked to bring Uganda into the “safe-sex” fold.  

In March 2007, Washington Post writer Craig Timberg in “Uganda's Early Gains Against HIV Eroding” described how the initial, “fear”-based approach, which yielded impressive results in the early '90s, gave way to the more typical condom-based approach in Uganda. He quotes Sam Okware, “a top Ugandan health official who designed early, frightening anti-AIDS campaigns. 'It has adapted too much to international guidelines instead of sticking to our own methods, which were very controversial at first but which worked.'” 

In his June 30 column, Ruteikara relates, “I have seen the process sabotaged. Repeatedly, our 25-member prevention committee put faithfulness and abstinence into the National Strategic Plan that guides how PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for HIV-AIDS Relief] money for our country will be spent. Repeatedly, foreign advisers erased our recommendations. When the document draft was published, fidelity and abstinence were missing.” 

It gets worse:  “And somehow, a suspicious statistic attacking marriage appeared. The plan states that the HIV infection rate among married couples is 42 percent, twice as high as the rate among prostitutes. …in fact, the 2004-05 Ugandan HIV/AIDS Sero-Behaviorial Survey found that HIV prevalence among married couples is only 6.3 percent…. As fidelity and abstinence have been subverted, Uganda's HIV rates have begun to tick back up.” 

Now, shouldn't this be a major news story? Billions of dollars, not to mention millions of lives, are at stake, and someone is committing outright fraud?  

But you'll search in vain for a media story about this. In fact, directly opposite the column, over on the editorial page, a Post editorial peddles the same old “safe-sex” medicine to young, homosexual men in America.  

In “A Persistent Scourge: HIV-AIDS continues to ensnare young gay men,” the Post sounds the alarm with recent CDC stats showing a 12 percent rise in HIV infections among 13-to-24-year-old males, and between 2001 and 2006, a 22 percent increase among black men who have sex with men. The Post says these grim stats are “a reminder that the work of keeping people HIV-negative and getting those who are HIV-positive into treatment is never done.” 

The editorial then lists “a variety of efforts” to stem the tide: “condom giveaways, in-clinic counseling and needle exchange programs,” to making “voluntary testing in emergency rooms and storefront clinics.” 

The editorial concludes by advocating “continuous education. An informed populace is the best defense against this ferocious epidemic.” 

Okay. Then why continue to promote failed approaches from the “safe-sex” lobby, whose hostility to teaching traditional sexual morality and whose dependence on condoms has doomed countless souls to a future full of handfuls of daily, anti-HIV drugs and premature death? The “safe-sex” approach has also doomed millions of women to a lifetime with incurable STDs such as human papillomavirus, against which condoms provide virtually no protection.  

And what about that spike in HIV among young men who have homosexual sex? Could it have something to do with the fact that the media, pop culture and educational establishments are openly promoting homosexuality and that more kids are experimenting—with deadly consequences? The stat for “young gay men” begins with 13-year-olds. Think about that for a moment.  But we are not supposed to be concerned about the aggressive gay movement that has persuaded the larger media culture to embrace homosexuality and to condemn anyone alarmed by the trend as “hateful” or “bigoted.”  

If an informed populace is the best defense, then why aren't the media, including the Washington Post, telling kids the truth about the huge number of consequences from homosexual behavior and promiscuous sex? Why is gay sex, in the absence of conclusive genetic science, being presented as a biological imperative, and a benign one at that? 

Rev. Ruteikara has it right: the people promoting the “safe-sex” agenda in the face of massive evidence that it doesn't work must be more interested in preserving casual sex than in saving lives.  

How else to explain it? 

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.