|Fully Combating HIV|
Fully Combating HIVThe Washington Times, March 28, 2003
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
Rep. Joe Pitts' column "The ABCs of hope" (Commentary, Wednesday)
calls for changes in behavior to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS—but the
Pennsylvania Republican proposes only a minuscule portion of the
behavior change that is needed. Heterosexual sex is the major factor in
HIV transmission in Africa and the Caribbean. For too many women, the
biggest risk factor is their husband's behavior, not th
In addition to funding President Bush's "ABC" approach (abstinence before marriage, being faithful to one partner, before condoms), the United States should invest in programs to promote behavioral changes in males so that they take responsibility for their own sexual behavior and do not resort to sexual coercion and violence. Females will then be better able to follow the ABC approach, if that is their choice.
The United States should also fund efforts to address the beliefs and practices that violate the rights of females and contribute to high rates of HIV infection. These include child marriage, widow inheritance (in which male relatives of the deceased gain sexual access to the widow), polygamy and men's belief that sex with a virgin will cure HIV. The poverty that makes girls and women vulnerable to men's sexual demands should be addressed also.
Let's take a comprehensive approach to fighting HIV/AIDS. That way, we will succeed.
Originally published in The Washington Times, March 28, 2003. Reprinted with permission. Visit their website at www.washtimes.com.