India Learns from Uganda: New AIDS Strategy to Focus on Abstinence, Fidelity

NEW DELHI, July 31, 2008 ( – One of the only national programs ever to effectively combat HIV/AIDS was the Ugandan ABC program, which focused on abstinence and being faithful to one partner.   Now the Indian national AIDS committee is adopting this same approach in their effort to curb HIV/AIDS rates.

A spokesperson for India’s National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) told the media yesterday that sex-education taught to students will focus on abstinence and fidelity, not condoms and ‘safer sex.’

This announcement came after a meeting involving officials from NCERT and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), who, under the guidance of director-general Sujatha Rao, have advocated fighting AIDS with values, not condoms.

Tim Waggoner, for

"There will be no mention of condom or safe sex in the revised module on life-skill education program. But we will be focusing on the aspirations of the youngsters and will also talk about being faithful to one’s partner and abstinence. There should be no hypocrisy on the subject," said Rao, as reported by the Indian press.

"The youngsters need to get the right information. The children are growing in an unsafe environment," she added.

Originally a module was created to introduce sex-education into Indian schools to fight the spread of AIDS that promoted condoms and ‘safer sex’ techniques.   The module, however, which included a flipchart with graphic illustrations of the human anatomy, was met with a nationwide uproar that led to seven states and many educationalists rejecting it.

The module was formulated under the direction of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is known for dumping condoms into developing nations as a means of fighting AIDS, despite hard data that shows no country has ever significantly reduced their AIDS rate using this method.

Before the new module receives final revisions, which are slated for October, secretaries of state, NGOs, as well as teachers and parents will be given a chance to review its contents and provide feedback.

The Indian decision, rejecting the usual intense pressures to adopt failed UN and other international agency strategies, could have major international repercussions on AIDS programs in other nations. Eventually expected to surpass China as the most populated nation in the world and with an economy that is also rapidly becoming one of the world’s largest, India’s international influence on AIDS and many other issues is becoming substantial.

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