Experts say the rivalry between promoting condoms and abstinence is sidelining a third important prevention strategy: having fewer sex partners.
In a British Medical Journal article, top AIDS researchers and officials from international donor agencies note that the strategy credited with turning around Uganda's epidemic uses all three approaches. It's called "ABC": "A" stands for abstinence, "B" is for being faithful and "C" is for condom use.
Author Daniel Halperin, senior prevention advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said that studies show abstinence and condom use "A" and "C" probably did play a role in Uganda.
"Probably the most significant factor was the 'B' aspect of what happened in Uganda," she said. "In other words, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there appears to have been a very large reduction in the number of people having multiple sexual partners, especially people having many partners."