Effective reduction of HIV incidence is not impossible and the current debate on the effectiveness of condoms as the number one tool for that purpose provides the opportunity to pause and review our strategies.
Opposition to condom stems from two points – defects in latex enabling viral transmission and promoting promiscuity/adultery.
To that regard, the condom advocates response’s is not convincing.
For instance, one statement frequently making its round is “research findings” reporting no promiscuity and desire for sex.
Where and by whom in PNG were these studies conducted to show no relationship between condom and increased desire for sex?
Unless details of the studies, including the population demographic, methodology used, researchers’ credentials, study instruments applied, etc, are spelt out, the current NAC chairman and our good professor of gynaecology are misleading this country.
It is not a big task to put this issue to rest and PNG should find that out for itself by conducting the research among its own population by its own scientists.
Can the NAC chairman support such a study?
If we can learn anything from others, Uganda has a lot to offer.
It reduced its national HIV prevalence from about 30% to between 6% and 8% and it has been attributed to the application of the ABC strategy.
Yes, ABC just like we profess in PNG but the greatest difference is the equal, if not, heightened distribution of resources and emphasis placed on the A and B components of the ABC strategy, the exact opposite of how it is done in PNG.
Those at NAC and their sponsors have rubbished the A and B components.
They do not believe that despite 20 years of condom promotion and advocacy, it is not working in PNG.
In short, PNG is doomed by placing its hope on the latex.