The Crisis at Hand: HIV/AIDS

Mr. Larry Dilgard

One would hope that after all the years spent attempting to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, the year 2004 would bring some good news. Unfortunately, the news is not good. Things are not getting better: in fact, the opposite is true. New cases of HIV reached record levels in 2003, as was recently reported by the United Nations. A staggering 5 million new cases of HIV infection were reported. Even more staggering, 3 million deaths from the AIDS virus were reported in 2003.

The same report estimated that in 2003 as many as 38 million people were currently infected with the HIV virus worldwide. Since many cases are still undiagnosed, the numbers are likely higher than reported. The United Nations reported the HIV/AIDS problem is now globalized and affects all parts of the world. According to Dr. Peter Piot, the UNAIDS Chief, “AIDS is truly a disease of our globalized world. Whereas until recently AIDS was largely a problem for sub-Saharan Africa, one out of every four new infections is occurring in Asia today, and the fastest growing epidemic is happening in Eastern Europe.” New HIV Infections are also on the rise in the United States and Western Europe.

It is becoming even more apparent that a condom-based program to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS is not working. Where do we go from here?

In early July of this year, the International AIDS Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Controversy began when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called for “optimal relationships based on love and trust instead of institutionalized mistrust, which is what the condom is all about.” Are love and trust in a relationship the answer to stopping the epidemic levels of HIV/AIDS? With more than 20 million people having died and an estimated 38 million people who are infected with the deadly virus, it is obvious that the current solution in curtailing this epidemic is not working. How could Ugandan President Museveni make such a bold statement?

Museveni’s statement comes from firsthand experience in his own country. In the 1980s, an estimated 30% of his fellow countrymen were infected with the HIV virus, one of the highest rates in the world. In 1986 President Museveni with the help of his wife, both Christians, started what is known as the “ABC” program to combat the spread of the HIV virus in Uganda. ABC stands for (in order of importance), Abstain until marriage, Be faithful to one partner, and Condom use for extreme cases (only for use in a monogamous married relationship when one partner has the HIV virus). The ABC program is based on the American-based “True Love Waits” program.

President Museveni is outspoken about the Christian-based ABC program because he has seen the benefits firsthand in his own country. The overall rate of HIV infection is now down to 6% in Uganda! The program has helped reduce the rate of new HIV infection by 70% between 1991 and 2001 in Uganda. Abstinence works!

It is becoming apparent worldwide that the “safe sex” program through the use of condoms is not working. Even in our own country the “safe sex” agenda is failing miserably. From the example of Uganda, the Christian abstinence and fidelity approach does work. Changing the hearts of the people is the ultimate answer to the HIV/AIDS dilemma. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can the actions of sinful man be changed. Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS can happen only if people change their sinful behavior. By practicing abstinence before marriage, faithfulness within marriage, and stopping homosexuality and intravenous drug use, only then can the staggering number of HIV/AIDS cases decline. To do this, we must bring the message of salvation and a Christian-based HIV/AIDS prevention program to people around the world. The benefits bring longer life on earth and the promise of eternal salvation through Christ.


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