01 , 2004
December 1 is World AIDS Day and the focus this year is on women and girls. That's good, because almost half of all HIV-infected persons in the world are female. But if you are a woman who is concerned about HIV infection, I'd suggest you avoid the UNAIDS program like the plague. Why? Because their advice just might kill you.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
As we know, there is no vaccine or drug that can stop AIDS. But there is one proven strategy. That approach, which is backed by the Bush Administration, is known as "ABC." A stands for Abstinence, B means Be faithful, and C refers to Condoms.
The ABC concept has been implemented in Uganda over the past 15 years. There, a massive public education campaign was mounted. Billboard signs admonished would-be adulterers, "No Grazing." And religious organizations were tapped to play key roles (sorry about that, ACLU).
The results were impressive: the HIV infection rate in Uganda dropped from 15% to 5%. In 1991, 21% of pregnant women had the deadly HIV virus. Ten years later, that figure had dropped to 6%.
But the experts at UNAIDS don't believe in the ABCs. Why? Because they had a strategy with a name that appealed to erotomaniacs everywhere: Safe Sex. The Safe Sex advocates argue that since sexual activity is a fact of life, the best we can do is offer condoms.
But two years ago the truth began to emerge.
Speakers at the 2002 Barcelona AIDS conference began to openly admit the failure of the Safe Sex approach. The UN Population Division offered this dispiriting assessment: "Much effort has been spent on promoting the prophylactic use of condoms as part of AIDS prevention. However, over the years, the condom has not become more popular among couples."
Why did Safe Sex fail? Well, knowing that the condom failure rate is 15%, ask yourself this question: If an intimate partner of yours had AIDS, would you trust your life to a condom?
And why didn't the UN embrace the proven ABC strategy? The answer: it's a little too....puritanical. Abstinence is something a Bible-thumping preacher might push -- but not the respectable public-health types at the UNAIDS.
If the gospel of Safe Sex didn't sell, why not try the orthodoxy of The Sisterhood?
So just last week the UNAIDS published its report, "Women and AIDS" . If you are interested in getting a glimpse into the radical feminist mindset, you will find it there. You will learn how women are subject to discrimination, domestic violence, and all manner of mistreatment - at the hands of their male chauvinist oppressors, of course.
For example, the report tells us the amazing fact that "women and girls provide the bulk of home-based care" -- but what does that have to do with stopping AIDS? Feminists who believe that all heterosexual intercourse is a form of rape will be heartened by the document's sweeping claim that "Women and girls often lack the power to abstain from sex."
And what if you are a woman who is looking for concrete suggestions on how to avoid becoming infected with the deadly HIV virus? Don't go to UNAIDS, because you will find nothing there in the way of practical advice.
In fact, you may become convinced that since women are so utterly powerless in the face of global patriarchy, taking any action to protect yourself would be futile.
Every day, 8,500 men and women die from the modern Black Death that we call AIDS. Most of those deaths could be avoided if the UN took a practical approach that is based on science, not ideology. And pitting women against men is hardly the answer.
The UN is engulfed in a growing array of scandals: the Rwanda slaughter that left 800,000 dead; sexual abuse by peacekeeping forces in the Congo; the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Then there's the ever-deepening Iraqi oil-for-food scandal - just this week we learned that Kofi Annan's son Kojo was on the take to the tune of $2,500 a month.
Now add to that list the devastating toll of the AIDS epidemic.