Sunday, June 13, 2004


As AIDS tears through Africa a shocking approach is dawning on those trying to stop the disease's spread, sexual faithfulness:
There is another way to reduce the spread of H.I.V. -- one that is increasingly recognized by public-health experts but that has been relegated, thus far, to an afterthought: fidelity -- either in marriage or in a committed relationship. As experts come to understand more about the African AIDS epidemic, it seems clear that regular sexual contact with more than one person is the key human behavior that enables the rapid spread of H.I.V. Since 2002, international organizations have promoted an approach called ''A.B.C.,'' which stands for abstain, be faithful, use condoms. But the ''be faithful'' part has largely fallen through the cracks, and that may well have undermined efforts to fight the epidemic.

Back in college I once wrote a newspaper column in the wake of the Magic Johnson HIV story. I pointed out that every case of AIDS was the result of someone's illicit behavior. In response to my 'insensitive' words about a hundred people showed up for a candlelight vigil to protest. I'm sure that bunch felt better about it all as their wicks burned down, but what I wrote was true then, and it's true now.

Don't want to get AIDS and other STDs? Then treat sex the way God intended. It'll work every time it's tried.

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