Readers who enjoyed Matthew Hanley’s Should Catholic Charities Settle for Harm Reduction? , today’s On the Square article, may also want to read his new book Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West , soon to be published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center. The book is (I had a chance to read the manuscript) a sober and well-evidenced argument for the effectiveness of strategies to encourage people to avoid the behaviors that infect them and an analysis of the problems with the somewhat despairing “harm reduction” strategies pressed by most Western governments and aid groups.
In his preface to the book, Edward C. Green, the director of Harvard’s AIDS Prevention Research Project, writes:
Serious efforts to change high-risk behaviors have been conspicuously missing in the effort to control AIDS. Put another way, there has been little to no primary prevention in HIV/AIDS, in spite of public and private sectors pouring more money and resources into this single disease than any other in history . . . . Hanley and de Irala cover the evidence that has been debated bitterly in recent years and show how fidelity and abstinence are in fact not faith-based AIDS prevention but evidence-based.