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"Africa's experience demonstrates the effectiveness of abstinence and faithfulness in the fight against AIDS".

Jokin de Irala, professor at the University of Navarra, and Matthew Hanley base their book 'Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS' on epidemiological programs of study

27/04/10 12:00
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Jokin de Irala. PHOTO: Manuel Castells

"The experience in Africa shows that promote , delaying the onset of sexual relations and fidelity are more effective measures in the fight against AIDS than the use of condoms". So says Jokin de Irala, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, in his latest book, written at partnership with researcher Matthew Hanley. Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS. What Africa Can Teach The West has been published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (USA).

Hanley and Dr. De Irala's work reviews the epidemiological evidence on this issue. Thus, it concludes that the most successful programs to reduce the incidence of this disease "have been carried out in African countries that have placed emphasis on limiting premarital sexual contacts and encouraging monogamy".

Bet on Education to change habits

According to the authors, "the Western world has invested millions of dollars -from public and private resources- to fight AIDS, but the expected results have not been obtained. One of the main causes is that the campaigns have focused on promoting the employment of condoms and no real efforts have been made to change the sexual behaviors that cause and maintain it".

"The agencies that constitute the official AIDS apparatus and control public health decisions in this field are based on a negative and defeatist vision of the nature and potential of human beings, instead of making decisions backed by science," the University of Navarra professor adds.

As Dr. De Irala adds, the book demonstrates through rigorous epidemiological programs of study "that public health measures such as delaying the age of sexual debut or mutual monogamy are not prejudices based on religious beliefs but pillars of prevention that are managing to curb the epidemic".

As is known, the "ABC" strategy was endorsed by numerous scientists in the journal The Lancet in 2004. "It states, firstly, that abstinence ("A" for "abstinence") is the only safe method to avoid infection; secondly, that the sexually active population should be advised to maintain mutually monogamous relationships ("B" for"be faithful"); and only thirdly, those who freely decide to take risks should be warned that condoms ("C" for"condom use") can reduce but never eliminate the risk of infection," says Dr. Jokin de Irala. Jokin de Irala.