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Ugandan officials
say nation does not face condom shortage

Ugandan officials
say nation does not face condom shortage

Uganda is rejecting a United Nations claim that it faces a condom shortage due to the restrictive Christian ideology driving the five-year, $15 billion U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

"There is no question in my mind that the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven and exacerbated by PEPFAR and by the extreme policies that the Administration in the United States is now pursuing in the emphasis on abstinence," U.N. special envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis said Monday.

Mike Mukala, Uganda's minister of state for health, denied the claims that Uganda's condom shortage reflects its shift away from condoms to an emphasis on abstinence-only programs. "That is not true at all," Mukala said. "Our policy is to maintain the ABC [Abstinence, Be Faithful, and use Condoms] policy, which actually helped Uganda to reduce AIDS prevalence rates. The three strategies have always carried the same weight."

Uganda's government is "aware that there are people who will have to use condoms, like prostitutes, discontent couples, and sexually active teenagers," said Mukala. The country plans to install condom machines in Kampala, where condom use has reportedly increased, he added.

PEPFAR has allocated about $8 million this year for abstinence-only projects in Uganda, human rights groups say. (Reuters)

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