Monday, November 08, 2004

AIDS and condoms

This is interesting. This article chastises the government of the Philippines:
The Philippines' campaign against AIDS has been slowed by opposition from the dominant Roman Catholic church to the distribution of condoms, widely considered as helping prevent the spread of the incurable disease through sex.
The pretext of this article is the visit of a Thai senator who is affectionately called Mr. Condom.

What they don't mention is that Mr. Condom's program has been a miserable failure in Thailand --acountry that after two decades of free condoms now has a million AIDS cases --over 1.5% of the population.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has been following their own AIDS-prevention program that has proven impossibly successful --there have only been a few thousand cases. Even if you recklessly assume that only one out of ten cases is reported as Mr. Condom does, the Philippines has had fewer cases of AIDS in its entire history than Thailand did last year. Back in the mid eighties, both countries were about equal with a few hundred cases.

Now, I'm not opposed to birth control so I have no objection to condoms on that score. I'm also not opposed to condoms as a life-saving device. If you are going to have sex with a stranger, I encourage you to use one. I'm not trying to make any kind of moral point here.

But what about evidence? What about trying two different solutions and seeing which one is more effective? How can anyone look at these two cases and remain smugly certain that a free-condom program is the best way to prevent AIDS?

I'll tell you. This is one of the points of faith of the reality based community. You just don't question your points of faith. So much for reality.

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