The Western Standard – Rubber fetish: The UN is too focused on pushing condoms to address effectively Africa’s deadly AIDS crisis, by Mark Steyn

But in Africa Stephen Lewis remains Kofi Annan’s numero uno AIDS honcho, and the other day he turned up in a widely reported story, whose headline in The Daily Telegraph catches the general gist: “Bush ‘Damaging The Fight Against Aids’.” …

So, in choosing as his most public intervention to berate both Uganda and the United States, Stephen Lewis would seem to be playing UN AIDS politics rather than doing anything for dying Africans. Maybe he had one too many strategy sessions with Ashley Judd at last year’s big world AIDS confab in Bangkok. Maybe he had his photo taken with renowned infectious-disease expert Rupert Everett alongside the big centrepiece art exhibit–an effigy of George W. Bush smeared with blood. Darling Rupert denounced Bush’s AIDS plan for Africa as “extremely frightening” because of its “judgmental attitude” toward sex.

Really? The Bush administration seems to be more interested in results, as does the Ugandan government. …. So the objection seems to be Museveni and Bush’s refusal to sign on to the prioritizing of condom-worship. In that sense, it’s Messrs. Lewis and Everett and the UN and World Health Organization who are engaging in judgmentalism. My most recent encounter with WHO and UN types was after the Iraq war, when I was driving round the Sunni Triangle and spent quite a lot of time trying not to have my beat-up Nissan piece of junk run off the road by transnational grandees in their gleaming white Suburbans. You’d catch up with them at the next town cutting in line at the gas station. They were a remarkably unpleasant crowd and I said afterwards that the NGOs were today’s colonial class. Certainly, the western AIDS lobby in its intervention in Africa seems to be hobbled by its own cultural imperialism. Back when AIDS was principally a disease of wealthy western homosexuals, no one wanted to be “judgmental” about Rupert Everett and his pals. But it ought to be at least arguable whether that’s the best approach now that it’s principally a disease of impoverished African heterosexuals…

But, after two decades, condom colonialism seems to have done nothing for southern Africa. The latest “conventional wisdom” among western do-gooders–that rapacious pharmaceutical companies should have their patents stolen in the interests of supplying cheap generic drugs to the continent–is also supported by Stephen Lewis and WHO. If condom worship is largely ineffectual, Big Pharma demonization has the potential to be utterly disastrous. Already, “pre-qualified” cheap AIDS drugs made in India have had to be “de-listed” by WHO, when they were subsequently revealed not to have met even WHO’s minimal standards, by which time they were already widely circulated all around Africa. As things turned out, they weren’t even cheaper–and the principal result seems likely to be not healthy Africans but Africans who develop strains of AIDS resistant to western drugs, while western pharmaceutical companies have less and less interest in developing drugs for those new strains if their patents are going to be stolen by the transnational establishment.

Ooh, but those nasty pharmaceuticals make a profit (to fund future and current research that could achieve results undreamt of in human history and save millions of lives)! A profit!!!