The two-decade ebb in Uganda's overall rate of AIDS was first of all the result of premature death of the previously infected. The AIDS incidence among living people fell primarily because so many of the infected died for lack of treatment. As the British Medical Journal reported:
"Death alone accounted for a six percentage point reduction in HIV prevalence in the one year," Maria Wawer, a public health researcher from Columbia University, New York city, said. "Overall, the HIV prevalence over the last decade declined 6.2 percentage points. We estimate that mortality alone contributed five percentage points of the decline."
Researchers found no scientific evidence that the remaining decline was due to abstinence.
Propaganda to the contrary via Fox News and other sources of obfuscation is a vote for death, in particular the death of the African women who now compose a majority of Africa's AIDS-infected population.
Those women are in no position to apply the Pope's homiletic advice about abstinence and responsibility. They lack power over their own lives. Michael Fleshman quotes UNAIDS Deputy Director Kathleen Cravero in the United Nations magazine, Africa Renewal:
"Across the globe," she notes, "women, particularly young women, are not in a position to abstain. They are not in a position to demand faithfulness of their partners. In many cases they are in fact faithful, but are being infected by unfaithful partners." . . . [They] are often unable to compel the use of condoms by their partners or are unwilling to even raise the issue for fear of rejection or physical assault.
"A woman who is a victim of violence or the fear of violence is not going to negotiate anything, let alone fidelity or condom use," Ms. Cravero continues. "Her main objective is to get through the day without being beaten up. Real-life prevention strategies for women include reducing the levels of violence against women, protecting their property and inheritance rights and ensuring their access to education."
It is no surprise then that on Wednesday when the Pope carried his anti-condom message into Cameroon, he was greeted with outrage. Alain Fogue, a spokesman for the Cameroon Advocacy Movement for Access to Treatment (MOCPAT), asked, "Is the Pope living in the 21st century? The people will not follow what the Pope is saying. He lives in Heaven and we are on Earth."
On earth, Uganda's "True Love Awaits" program is a masque of death, misrepresented as a solution on behalf of Papal guidance for which sound earthly scientific rationalization appears to be absent.