International AIDS Society


The impact of Uganda´s HIV/AIDS "A,B,C" prevention policy on married women: identification of a need to "reinvent" a successful approach

A. Al-Bahish

Issues: Uganda is often described as a beacon of hope in HIV/AIDS prevention. Its "A,B,C" prevention strategy, emphasizing abstinence, being faithful, and condom use, has garnered much international attention and acclaim. It has also been credited with drastically reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence. Nevertheless, does this strategy, especially with the recent emphasis on abstinence, neglect the gender-specific problems of married women? Consequently, do the overall lower prevalence rates obscure problematic prevalence and risk trends among married women?
Description: This policy analysis examines the impact of the "A,B,C" strategy on married women by analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data, including governmental statistics, anthropological sources and human rights literature. The interplay between elements of the prevention strategy, gender relations within marriage, and HIV/AIDS risk for married women is explored.
Lessons learned: Despite its decreasing prevalence generally, HIV/AIDS is a significant problem for married women in Uganda. Importantly, the disparity in prevalence between married women and other sectors of the population is growing. Aspects of the current prevention strategy, particulary the emphasis on abstinence, provide little to no protection of married women and may simply reinforce the gender inequities that increase their risk.
Next steps: Uganda´s successful "A,B,C" approach requires a change in emphasis to specifically address the growing problem of HIV/AIDS among married women. Efforts to reinvent the approach should continue to be analyzed and explored. Moreover, increasing HIV/AIDS prevalence among married women suggests that the cultural behaviors, institutions and attitudes that impact the power of women within marriage must continue to be studied.

AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WEPE0813

Suggested Citation
" A. Al-Bahish The impact of Uganda´s HIV/AIDS "A,B,C" prevention policy on married women: identification of a need to "reinvent" a successful approach. : AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WEPE0813"