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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Uganda 'not dropping' Aids condom
Ugandan vendor selling condoms
Uganda imports 120m condoms each year
Uganda has strongly denied charges that it no longer promotes condoms as part of its fight against Aids - seen as one of the most successful in the world.

Lobby group Human Rights Watch said US pressure had led to a change of policy, with abstinence now being emphasised.

HIV infection rates have dropped from around 15% in the 1990s to 6% and HRW says this success is being jeopardised.

The BBC's Will Ross in Uganda says the message has shifted towards abstinence, especially for young people.

He says more funding is now being directed towards religious groups who don't mention condoms.

'Misunderstood'

President Yoweri Museveni's wife, Janet, a staunch Christian, is strongly involved in this shift, our correspondent says.

Uganda is gradually removing condoms from its HIV/Aids strategy and the consequences could be fatal
Tony Tate
Human Rights Watch
But a presidential spokesman said the president and the first lady were being "misunderstood" .

The Ugandan approach has always been dubbed the "ABC" strategy, with the emphasis firstly on abstinence, then on being faithful and thirdly on condoms.

"They have been consistent in advocating for a multi-pronged approach - those who are sexually active should be faithful to their partners, others should abstain and those who cannot abstain should use condoms," said Onapito Ekomoloit.

But Human Rights Watch said teachers had told its researchers that they had been discouraged from discussing condoms.

"Uganda is gradually removing condoms from its HIV/Aids strategy and the consequences could be fatal," said Tony Tate, a co-author of the 80-page report.

But Alex Opio, assistant commissioner for Uganda's Centre for National Disease Control, said that Uganda imported some 120m condoms a year and that two-thirds of these were ordered by the government.

Uganda has a population of 26.8 million.




SEE ALSO:
Uganda to run short of condoms
13 Dec 04 |  Africa
Call for Ugandan virgin census
02 Dec 04 |  Africa
Uganda's HIV success questioned
21 Sep 04 |  Africa
Uganda turns back the Aids tide
02 Dec 03 |  Africa


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