ifeminists.com: A central gathering place and information center for individualist feminists.   -- explore the new feminism --
introduction | interaction | information

ifeminists.com > introduction > editorials

The Truth About the World Health Organization and AIDS
December 7, 2005
by Carey Roberts

If you're like most people I know, World AIDS Day passed you by last Thursday with scarcely a nod. And for good reason, because the World Health Organization, which sponsors the observance, is keeping a low profile these days.

And well it should. Any way you look at it, the WHO effort to stop AIDS has been a dismal failure. In fact many believe the World Health Organization is actually making things worse.

It was June 1981 when U.S. public health officials first reported a strange illness that afflicted six homosexual men. Who would have believed that nearly 25 years later, the deadly virus would be infecting 5 million new persons each year, and that a staggering 40 million persons - 70% of whom live in Africa -- are now HIV-positive?

In the minds of the UN experts, the solution to the AIDS threat is simple: drugs and condoms.

So two years ago the WHO launched its much-ballyhooed "3 by 5" strategy. The idea was to provide HIV drugs to 3 million people in developing countries by the end of 2005.

So as we approach the close of 2005, where do we stand?

Last week WHO director Lee Jong-wook delivered the news: only one million persons are now receiving AIDS treatment, two million short of the 3 by 5 goal. But instead of truthfully admitting the failure, the WHO head resorted to the tactic of claiming the program represented a "remarkable" success. For shame.

There's a deeper problem with the 3 by 5 approach. The International Policy Network said it best: "Encouraged by western activists and NGOs, the WHO has focused myopically on scaling up antiretroviral treatment for those already suffering from HIV/AIDS, while paying relatively little attention to preventing infections in the first place."

So if drugs won't work, let's go to Plan B: condoms.

But there are a couple of problems with condoms. First people don't like to use them. Second, they break 15% of the time.

So the UN's Safe Sex campaign contains a hidden message that goes like this: "Go ahead and have sex with as many people as you want, just be sure to use a condom. Try not to worry when the condom breaks."

There's a coda to that message: "And if you forget to use the condom and get the virus, we'll just tell well-meaning donors we need more funding for Safe Sex programs."

It's time for the WHO to stop playing Russian Roulette with persons' lives. Let's get real: the only way we're going to stop the AIDS epidemic is for persons to start having less sex, and only with the right person at the right time.

That common-sense approach has been shown to be remarkably effective. In Uganda, the government has been advocating abstinence and faithfulness for 15 years. Billboard signs warned would-be adulterers, "No Grazing." As a result, the HIV infection rate dropped from 15% to 5%.

But the UN autocrats don't take kindly to people who question the tired promises of the drug dispensers and condom queens.

So soon a story began to circulate that there was a severe condom shortage in Uganda, and men had been reduced to using garbage bags as condom substitutes. The story had to be true, since it appeared last August in the New York Times.

Actually it wasn't just a shortage, it was a full-blown "condom crisis," according UN special envoy Stephen Lewis. Plus, the U.S.-backed emphasis on sexual abstinence was "resulting in great damage," according to latex-lover Lewis.

But it turns out the ballooning worries were over-blown. "We are not facing a condom shortage, and the New York Times simply made a mistake," explained Ugandan ambassador Edith Ssempala in September.

A similar scenario played out in Nigeria, where an organization named Action Family Foundation criticized the UN's over-reliance on condoms. As a result, the group found itself shut out from the UN Volunteer's Online Volunteering Service.

The conclusion is clear: the AIDS programs at the World Health Organization are being held hostage by Leftist ideologues who care more about promoting no-fault sexual experimentation than actually stopping this deadly epidemic.

Last spring Angola was stricken with an outbreak of the Marburg virus which causes a deadly Ebola-like fever. The WHO dispatched a team to investigate. But when the public health experts arrived on the scene, the villagers attacked the crew and drove them away, fearing the UN workers would only make the situation worse.

The truth about the World Health Organization is finally beginning to emerge.

ifeminists.com > home | introduction | interaction | information | about

ifeminists.com is edited by Wendy McElroy; it is made possible by support from The Independent Institute and members like you.