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Abstinence For All

The Baptist Press is reporting that True Love Waits--a Christian group promoting abstinence-only education--plans to expand its operations in six African countries, thanks to a recent surge in donations. Guess they're unfazed by that report showing that these programs are basically useless. (As is the Family Research Council, for that matter.)

Anyway, True Love Waits's co-founder gets quoted claiming that the organization's abstinence-only message has helped reduce the HIV infection rate in Uganda. But as I recall, Helen Epstein looked into this two years ago, and found that many of the religious groups operating in Uganda have actually been lobbying against the two strategies that have been proven to work there: condom education and the government's now-defunct "Zero Grazing" initiative--a carefully tailored sex-ed campaign that accepted polygamy but denounced casual sex. (At this point, the Ugandan government has effectively shelved both strategies, so as not to anger USAID grantmakers.) I gather that didn't make it into the press release.

--Bradford Plumer