AIDS Prevention, continued

I have read the article by Potts, et. al. in Science mentioned in my previous post on this subject.  It points out that some assumptions that underlie current HIV prevention strategies are unsupported by evidence. 

Current strategies include condom distribution, voluntary counseling and testing, and treatment of other sexually transmitted diseases, with the addition recently of USA’s global AIDS program’s promotion of abstinence.  The article asserts that there is no evidence that condom distribution has a primary role in reduction of HIV rates in generalized epidemics, that HIV testing does not result in reduction of risk of infection for those testing negative to the virus,  and that treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, while critical for public health programs, seems to have little impact on HIV transmission in generalized epidemics.  Abstinence completely prevents transmission, but HIV infections occur most often among people in the 20s or older when most are sexually active.

The article says that what does help is male circumcision, citing over 45 observational, biological and other studies in the past 20 years have shown that it significantly reduces the risk of heterosexual HIV tranmission.  It also states that reducing multiple sexual partnerships has a powerful impact in lowering HIV transmission.  Again, multiple studies are cited.

I am not sure how circumcision helps in transmission rate reduction.  I suppose some of the cited studies would explain.  If any of you happen to know, explain in a comment below.

It ends by saying that investments are being made in interventions for which evidence of large-scale effectiveness is weak.  It suggests a reassessment of how those investments are made.

Read the article for yourselves.  “Reassessing HIV Prevention”, Potts, et. al., Science, May 8, 2008, 749-750.

This article certainly lends support to the Church’s traditional teachings about fidelity in marriage and its opposition to condom use.  It is for that reason, I take the time to discuss it with you.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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