ABC in Uganda

I’ve posted a lot of news about Uganda lately, and if you’ve been involved with international AIDS issues for long, you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot more about it.  Uganda is often regarded as a (relative) success story when it comes to handling HIV/AIDS, so it attracts a lot of attention.  Much of this attention focuses on the ABC approach to HIV prevention, which Uganda has strongly supported for years.

What’s ABC?  Like so much else in the AIDS world, it’s an acronym.

Abstain    Be Faithful    Condoms

There are different versions of the strategy – debate over the relative weight given to A and C can be fierce – but that’s the basic idea.

For an extremely helpful summary of ABC and its attending issues and controversies, I recommend this page from, which takes a relatively balanced Q&A approach to the issue, and includes a section on the legacy of ABC in Uganda.*

I also recommend this article by Uganda’s first lady, Janet Museveni, in which she discusses her views on ABC as a whole and the usefulness of its various components.**  Mrs. Museveni writes:

I have always been an advocate of the ABC strategy in Uganda – Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms. It was devised as a three-pronged preventive strategy, and each prong is appropriate for particular categories of people in our population.

I wanted to get something about ABC posted now, because it’s such an important part of AIDS work around the world.  It’s also very complex, and often controversial, and for that reason I’d like to explore it in more depth on this site in the future.  For now, I hope this will provide some background for anyone who’d like to explore this issue further.  (And if you know any good resources on ABC or related subjects, please let me know!)

* is a good place to go if you want quick, readable info about a particular aspect of HIV/AIDS, or just want to explore a well-organized site to learn more.

** Note: this is definitely an opinion piece.  Mrs. Museveni doesn’t speak for everyone with thoughts on ABC – or for me, for that matter – but this does give a pretty good sense of what’s involved in ABC and how it’s considered in Uganda.)


~ by h.e.g. on July 1, 2008.

4 Responses to “ABC in Uganda”

  1. Have you heard of ANERELA and SAVE?

    What are your thoughts?

  2. Christopher, thanks so much for the link! I’d never heard of either ANERELA or SAVE, but I’m very glad to find out about it.

    ANERELA seems like a really interesting group. I think it’s very admirable that clergy are getting involved in fighting stigma in such a direct (and courageous!) way.

    I really like the idea of SAVE. It looks like they’re really trying to incorporate a lot of very real issues that don’t necessarily get mentioned that often in terms of prevention strategies.

    I think I’d like to write a post on this in the next couple days!

  3. i think SAVE takes a more holistic approach to HIV/AIDS prevention and tackles issues that ABC may not. ABC seems to relegate condoms for the people that cannot practice A or B and are therefore looked at as more promiscuos. it assumes that everyone can make personal decisions on A or B and doesnot deal with gender inequalities, sexual violence, and other factors that make some people vulnerable to HIV infection.

    SAVE integrates risk increasing factors, and other important aspects such as correct information about HIV/AIDS, access to treatment services for people living with HIV and Voluntary counselling and testing which is critical in prevention.

    For religious leaders SAVE challenges their attitudes and breaks the stigma that comes with the use of condoms in HIV prevention

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Lucy! You make some great points.

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