Condoms Failing to Solve AIDS Epidemic, Says U.N. Report

Population Division Gives Blunt Assessment

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NEW YORK, JUNE 27, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The United Nations says in a new report that its massive effort to supply the world with condoms in a bid to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS is failing.



After exhaustive analysis of survey data from developing countries, the Population Division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs has concluded that the ready availability of condoms has not significantly altered individuals' sexual behavior.

The news was reported and commented on by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

In "HIV/AIDS, Awareness and Behavior," the report released this week, the Population Division bluntly asserts that much "effort has been spent on promoting the prophylactic use of condoms as part of AIDS prevention. However, over the years, the condom has not become more popular among couples."

The report goes on to contend that, despite widespread knowledge of AIDS and easy access to condoms, only "a small percentage of respondents began using condoms to prevent HIV transmission. Fewer than 8% of women in all countries surveyed reported that they had changed their behavior by using condoms. Among married women, the percentages were particularly low."

The report contends that the only significant behavioral change has been towards more monogamous relationships. The report states that, among "those respondents, whether male or female, who did change their behavior, the most frequently cited change had entailed confining sexual activity to one partner."

On May 24, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed former UNFPA head Nafis Sadik as his special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia. Under Sadik's direction, UNFPA was the world's largest supplier of condoms, and UNFPA's AIDS-prevention program focused on the promotion of condom use. It is unclear how Sadik will integrate the conclusions of the Population Division report into her new initiative.