AIDS, Africa and Abstinence

Yesterday, Zenit carried an interview with Matthew Hanley headed AIDS in Africa: abstinence works. Matthew Hanley is the technical advisor for Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the US. He says:
When we conducted training recently with five dioceses in Ethiopia, one of the participants, a wife and a mother, spoke for the group by saying how much she appreciated the emphasis on fidelity and related human values such as respect and communication. She was puzzled as to why such basic themes are not more routinely promoted in the context of HIV prevention, adding: "Why hasn't anyone explained it like this before?"
He has some interesting figures:
[...] researchers have noted that in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV transmission rates have remained high despite a considerable increase in condom use. For example, condom sales in Botswana increased from 1 million in 1993 to 3 million in 2001, while HIV prevalence among pregnant urban women increased from 27% to 45%. In Cameroon, during the same period, condom sales rose from 6 million to 15 million, while HIV prevalence increased from 3% to 9%.
And just one more quotation:
Since the primary approach of condoms, voluntary counseling and testing and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections, has not produced the intended results, in terms of achieving reductions in HIV prevalence, it would be difficult to avoid concluding that these interventions maintain their privileged position not because of empirically observed scientific excellence, but at least in part because of the desire of their proponents to cling to an underlying vision of the human person, freedom and sexuality.

Yet it is the Church that is routinely characterized as being opposed to science, or "dogmatic."
See also his article Battling the AIDS Pandemic.

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