General Articles

Uganda’s First Lady Vows to Continue Advocating For Sexual Abstinence

Thaddeus M. Baklinski,

KAMPALA, February 3, 2009 ( – At the opening of the Permanent Centre for Education in Luzira, Kampala recently, Uganda’s First Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni, said that though her message of sexual abstinence and faithfulness had made her "unpopular in certain quarters," she was determined to continue promoting the strategy that had proved so successful in combating HIV/AIDS in the country.

Last year Mrs. Museveni expressed regret that Ugandans are abandoning behavior change as a way to fight HIV, in favor of methods that only perpetuate the disease, with the resultant rise in HIV-AIDS rates.

"It is not too late to reverse the trend," she said at the August 1, 2008 premiere of the documentary "Miss HIV" in Kampala. "We can adopt our own indigenous solutions, which are less expensive and are 100% sure of preventing the spread of this deadly disease. I find it very baffling how we could throw away what worked, and embrace ideas from elsewhere. Then we watched as rates of infection soared again to claim lives."

“To be true to myself, as a mother and as a believer in Jesus Christ, I am prepared to continue advocating for these values,” Mrs. Museveni said in a speech read by the Minister of Education and Sports, Namirembe Bitamazire, at the opening of the education complex.

Mrs. Museveni lamented that there are "categories of adults who are exposed to risk (of HIV/AIDS) through their lifestyles," and may be beyond help, but that the youth of the country must continue to hear the message that chastity and fidelity in marriage are the only sure methods to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“For this category of people, change may be too late. But we cannot give up on our children and the young people by simply trusting the condom for protection,” Mrs. Museveni said.

Mrs. Museveni said it was important to train children to value and respect themselves and their colleagues, and to acquire the virtues of patience and self-control.

“Failure to abstain and to be faithful is a reflection of a bigger problem — the failure to love,” she said, adding that a lack of discipline and self-control not only manifests itself in promiscuity, but makes people likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.

“There is no condom against alcohol, substance abuse or corruption. There is no condom to protect us against life. The condom to protect us against the hazards of life is self-discipline, respect and value of God-given life,” Mrs. Museveni said.