A-B-C Fail

The $1.4 billion spent by the US advocating abstinence to prevent AIDS in Africa largely failed.

A study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers published in Health Affairs
http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/35/5/856.abstract compared countries that received abstinence funding under the 2003 US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with those that did not. The results showed no difference in behaviors associated with a higher risk of HIV infection, including the age of first sexual experience, number of sexual partners or teenage pregnancies.

What did work to prevent HIV? Keeping girls in school longer, and treating the infection in pregnant women. And yet, PEPFAR still allocated $45 million to abstinence ed in 2013. “There is a big opportunity cost there,” said study co-author Nathan Lo. “It’s not necessarily a benign expenditure.”

Scientific American
 

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