September 20th, 2007
02:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee skeptical of condom use to fight AIDS in Africa

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister campaigning for president here Wednesday, cast doubt on the effectiveness of condom use in combating AIDS in Africa.

Asked by CNN if he would direct U.S. funds to health programs that provide condoms in Africa, Huckabee demurred.

"I’d want to see how that’s used ... I've been a little reluctant to think that condoms alone are the most effective way,” Huckabee said. “It certainly is more effective than not having them. But I think helping people understand that condoms do have a failure rate, and they are not totally 100 percent successful. And it gives some people a false sense of security thinking that they can still live dangerously and recklessly and that that’s going to be a fail safe protection when it obviously is not.”

Huckabee made the comments after speaking to a group of about 70 supporters at a restaurant in Columbia where the former Arkansas governor emphasized his consistent position on social issues.

“You’re not going to go to the Internet and find some YouTube moment of me saying something dramatically different,” he said in what appeared to be a subtle dig at one of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney has come under fire for his past position on abortion.

Huckabee did express support for combating disease in Africa in other ways, such as providing clean drinking water to fight typhoid and dysentery, and mosquito nets to combat malaria. He also said he would work with existing programs that are already effective in fighting HIV/AIDS, but added: “The details are something we've got to focus on as we get there.”

USAID, the U.S. agency in charge of providing aid to foreign countries, currently has an “ABC” approach to preventing HIV abroad: abstinence, being faithful, and consistent condom use. USAID, which exists under the umbrella of the U.S. State Department, does direct funds to programs in Africa that distribute condoms and educate about condom use. The group’s web site states that, “While no barrier method is 100 percent effective, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV, some other sexually transmitted infections, and of unintended pregnancy.”

The United Nations says condoms are “an essential weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (42 Responses)

    Huckabee has the courage to be honest about his beliefs.

    September 20, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. Chad, Sacramento, CA

    Thank you Pete in New Hampshire, David in Gilbert, Arizona, and Bill in Charleston SC for having something intelligent to say about Huckabee's comments.
    The rest of you are just ignorant to the issue and spewing your own agenda. Something you accuse Huckabee of doing.
    Reread his comments and use your brain this time when you read them. Don't allow your preconceived ideals to cloud your judgment. This type of response is why America is so politically divided, you don't think objectively. Take his comments in context and in entirety, don't pull out portions to make it fit your stereotype.

    September 20, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    No one is stupid enough to think that condoms will completely stop the spread of AIDS. However, there is no denying that condom use will help. Huckabee, as well as groups such as the Vatican, need to just accept reality.

    September 20, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Kent D. Madison, WI

    At least SOMEONE is talking about this horrible crisis.

    Why has the rest of the industrialized world allowed the AIDS, the Darfurs, the Somalia, etc. to happen?

    If we had put one-tenth of the money we have poured into the unnecesary war in Iraq to problems like this, then maybe we as a country could hold our heads up higher.

    Sorry folks, but we ARE the policemen and the humanitarian leads of the world. Always have, probably always will be.

    I guess oil is not involved.

    September 20, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Infected Woman in Illinois

    Human papilloma virus (HPV) can be spread sexually, even with condoms, and even without intercourse. HPV can result in cervical cancer, which can kill a woman. Shouldn't people, especially in Africa, be informed that there are other dangerous STD's out there other than HIV? Ought we not include a discussion of HPV and cervical cancer when discussing condom advocacy and distribution? It seems to me that I, as a woman who currently is infected with HPV and is developing cervical cancer, would be having a much happier life right now, if Mike Huckabee's position had been the standard model for the U.S. public at the time I had gotten infected, when everyone was being told that "condoms + birth control" = "safe sex." I hope that all the Africans that are being given condoms by the U.S. to protect against HIV, are also being told that HPV can be spread, even without intercourse, and that the men risk infecting women with viruses that cause cervical cancer, even if they use condoms. Thank you, Mike Huckabee!

    September 20, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  6. Peter, New York

    The Vatican is not a "group," Christian. 😉

    September 20, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Shawn, Iowa City

    Fact: Condoms are 86% effective when used properly.

    Fact: AIDS has a 100% mortality rate once contracted.

    This isn't guessing, this isn't rounding off to get a better set of number to work with, these are two very distinct proven facts.

    If 100 people have sex with an infected partner and all wear condoms, with 100% contraction rate which AIDS does not have, then 86 will be protected against the disease while the other 14 will contract it. Even though condoms do not guarantee you will not contract AIDS from an infected partner even in a worst case scenario wouldn't anyone, regardless of any other factors, rather see only 14 people become infected instead of 100?

    If Huckabee, or any other idiot for that matter, cannot see the simple common and humane sense in these facts then simply put then they should not only not be running for federal office, but they shouldn't even be given a forum to voice their misguided and detrimental opinions

    September 20, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Bill Charleston SC

    Joe Schmoe,

    Man you've got me laughing. I must be a tard who can't read what I myself wrote. I said condoms are useless against armed rapists. Maybe you should try hooked on phonics?

    September 20, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. Leon, Vista, Ca

    Give them free subscriptions to World of Warcraft.

    September 20, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Rose Hann New London, CT

    Dear Lord, please don't suggest there is a safer way in Africa then condems. The men with aids beleive raping a virgin will cure HIV/aids. Thank goodness condems are being used. We have a great debt of gratitude to President Clinton for his tireless effort through his foundation. He has inspired so many people to join the fight and as a result, they have medicine and education.
    Stop complaining until you take a look back at where it was before.

    September 20, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  11. Chip Celina OH

    The ability to read, comprehend, process information and respond exhibited on this topic has me very scared that this Christmas, ...Holiday Season, a lot of kids are going to be running around with handlebars on their iPods.

    To the 4 or 5 people here that actually got it, you've made my day!


    September 21, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Another hate filled Bible banging idiot heard from!!

    September 21, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  13. Paul Tampa, FL

    Perhaps Huckabee is also reluctant to urge people to use seatbelts. They are not 100% effective against preventing injury and promoting their use will just encourage dangerous driving.

    September 21, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. George

    He's too right wing...

    September 21, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. Paul, Phoenix, Arizona

    This Bible-thumping is giving me a headache.

    September 21, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. J Salk, Fresno, CA

    Paul, that is a perfect analogy! I'll have to remember that. Maybe we should also discourage handwashing because that just gives people an excuse to blow their noses on their hands and pick up feces with bare hands. We should also ban the polio vaccine because it just encourages using public swimming pools where people may drown!

    September 21, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. Mark, Maryville,TN

    It is when I read article like this I truly undertand why our country is in such a mess. It shows that the people behind their white wall and evory towers need to take a course in HIV 101. Even Laura Bush stated that condoms are helping in the battle of AIDS in Africa. Her statement does seem to say that there is a least on educted BUSH in Washington. Mr. Huckbee educated yourself take an HIV 101 course and go to Africa or better yet go to an HIV support group in your area learn the facts before you preach.

    November 15, 2007 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
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