‘We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.”
So notes Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week.
Searching for Edward Green's research, I found it to be quite enlightening:http://www.harvardaidsprp.org/research/green-manhattan-institute-lecture-010908.pdf
In it he makes an interesting statement that Ms. Lopez here seems to ignore, i.e. what may be working in NY and Bangkok does not necessarily mean it will work in Africa. In addition, we know that when educating teens in schools on sex education, they are taught the ABC's of sex (abstinence, be faithful, circumcision/condom). Green's "A" is a bit different: he includes being faithful in A, while B is reducing risk through restricting relationships (perhaps polygamous). Apparently, the funding of AID's prevention in Africa has been only "C's." That is unfortunate and very suspiciously malicious. The culture in Africa is also different, where one tends to have two life-long sexual relationships, whereas in the US, serial monogamy is popular. Thus, "A" is already a cardinal rule in the US, but not so in Africa (not to be confused with Bush's "A" program of abstinence only).
This doesn't mean condoms aren't effective. It's the last resort. But behavior is just as important. He does not discourage use of condoms as the Pope is. He's simply stating Africa should have a different approach as successfully has been in Uganda. There are ads for polygamists as well to be faithful. There are ads that teach people to stay only with their wives. In the past, ads were only for encouraging sex and condom use, which is where Green becomes frustrated.
In conclusion, the Pope agrees with Green's main point in discouraging the use of multiple partners, which is apparently very popular in Africa. However, he does not take off condoms from the list like the Pope. In fact, here is what he thinks is an example of progress:
• Reduce the number of multiple and concurrent multiple and concurrent partnerships.
• Prepare for the possible roll out of male circumcision.
• Address male involvement and responsibility for sexual and reproductive health, & HIV prevention and support.
• Increase consistent and correct condom use.
• Continue programming around delayed sexual debut.
In addition to the main issue, which was multiple parternships, there was still inadequate/incorrect condom use due to no education and unavailability in rural areas, which is considered to add to the problem. So, yes, I think we can all agree condom use should not be the main solution, but when you have stubbornness, condoms are actually encouraged by Green.
So who is Kathryn Jean Lopez? A Catholic, Bush supporting Conservative (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm suspicious she just picked and chose things to write without giving us the full story due to her own agenda. I won't be surprised if Green will come back to clarify his views from Lopez's one-sided article.