Former Rep. Tom Coburn the ‘Wrong Choice’ to Head Presidential HIV/AIDS Advisory, Editorial Says
The Bush administration's naming of former Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) as co-chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS leaves the administration's approach to HIV/AIDS "open to question," a Chicago Tribune editorial states. Although Coburn, an obstetrician and gynecologist, supported reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act during his term in the House, he has "had trouble separating science and sound public health policies from his personal beliefs," which include an opposition to needle-exchange and condom distribution programs, the editorial says. While abstinence, "advocate[d]" by Coburn, should be a part of U.S. HIV/AIDS prevention programs, "realistic, proven prevention measures" are successful in reducing the number of new HIV infections in the United States, the Tribune states. Coburn's "vehement opposition to campaigns promoting condom use and safe sex ... and to harm-reduction programs to reduce new [HIV] infections make [him] the wrong choice to co-chair the presidential council," the editorial concludes (Chicago Tribune, 2/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.