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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, credited with slashing HIV rates in his country, insisted on Monday that abstinence and loving relationships were more crucial than condoms in fighting Aids.
His remarks in Bangkok on the second day of the International Aids Conference were in line with the position of American President George Bush, but at odds with the view of a majority of researchers and activists fighting the disease.
Condom use has been promoted as a frontline defence by Thailand, among others, where a campaign to get sex workers to use condoms cut HIV rates more than sevenfold in 13 years.
An epidemiologist who is tracking Asia's emerging epidemics told delegates more countries - including China and Bangladesh - faced HIV problems largely driven by prostitution, and that promoting condoms was best to curb the spread.
Museveni said loving relationships based on trust were crucial in the campaign, and that "the principle of condoms is not the ultimate solution".
"Let the condom be used by people who cannot abstain, cannot be faithful, or are estranged," he said. - Sapa-AP