A conservative pastor and president of Brotherhood of a New Destiny (BOND) is standing up for the successful abstinence program active in Uganda while criticizing the City of Washington’s goal of distributing 600,000 free condoms the prevention of spreading AIDS in the city.
Recently in the hope of decreasing the city’s high AIDS/HIV infection rate the City of Washington announced its goal of providing nearly 600,000 free condoms in offices frequented by the public.
But Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND says dispensing condoms is not the answer. "You can pass out all the condoms in the world and that's not going to stop the AIDS virus from destroying the people, because a lot of these people are not even using the condoms," he says.
Peterson believes the real solution to the AIDS problem is morality and personal responsibility. "The AIDS epidemic will never end or calm down until people take control of their lives," he says.
The pastor refers to the success of the AIDS prevention program in Uganda, Africa, which resulted in a significant reduction HIV/AIDS rate of 20% in some areas. In the 1990s, the Ugandan government launched a multi-sector strategy abstinence program along with faith-based organizations to fight against the disease.
Uganda's program is known as "ABC program," emphasizing "(A)bstinence, (B)eing Faithful and (C)ondom Use," often in that order. Some observers note that the government of Uganda has been supportive of faith-based groups that offer AIDS education and awareness activities, even those that particularly promote abstinence and marital fidelity.
Maureen Farrell, an intern with the Congressional Research Service, conducted a study of the AIDS prevention program in Uganda. In her report, she concluded that "faith-based organizations have great potential to strongly influence what people know about AIDS and how they behave. Policy makers grappling with the merits of condom promotion for HIV/AIDS prevention should not overlook the work of Uganda’s religious organizations."
Like Farrell, Peterson suggests that the U.S. might want to set Uganda as an example of how to fight against AIDS. The pastor feels the Africa is doing much better job in fighting AIDS than the US.
"It's amazing that Uganda is trying to teach moral values, whereas the United States seems to be getting away from that," Peterson says, "and we used to lead the way in that at one point."
But BOND's president believes HIV/AIDS will run rampant in American society until healthy family where moral principles which will in the long run protect against the deadly epidemic, can be passed down to children is formed.
"It is the responsibility of the father and the mother to teach those values," Peterson says, "and when they teach those values, we won't have to worry about [AIDS] being out of control in the manner that it is."
Rev. Peterson founded BOND, a national, nonprofit religious organization committed to “Rebuilding the Family By Rebuilding the Man,” in 1990. BOND continues to work to assist men and their families in regaining control of their lives and overcoming challenges through self-reliance, honesty, and service.