Editorials Decry ‘Wasteful’ Spending by AIDS Organizations
Two editorials published recently address the alleged "wasteful" spending of federal funds by some HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Summaries of the editorials appear below in alphabetical order by paper:
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Any waste of taxpayer funds is greatly to be rued. ... But to waste money that should go to wiping out a gruesome disease is obscene," a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial states, calling HIV/AIDS "one of the most horrifying ... threats to human life." Funding for HIV/AIDS programs now amounts to $13 billion, and NIH spends eight to 10 times as much on HIV/AIDS as it does on cancer and 40 times more than it does on heart disease, two diseases that kill "far" more people than AIDS, the editorial notes. HIV/AIDS advocates say the expenditures are "justified" because more is known about cancer and heart disease and neither disease is communicable. "It's a fair point -- but only if the money is spent wisely," the Times-Dispatch states, adding, "A lot evidently has not been." Instead, some of the funding given to groups on the front lines appears to be "wast[ed]," the editorial says, noting that some programs have spent money on tickets to Disney World, football games, sex toys, "orgasm coaches" and "shopping sprees" at department stores. Although the Times-Dispatch acknowledges that the "dubious expenditures might not be epidemic," it says they "go beyond mere isolated, anecdotal incidents." In conclusion, the editorial quotes Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who recently said of the alleged funding abuse, "We don't have money to burn when people are dying" (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/19).
- Washington Times: Some HIV/AIDS prevention programs are "wasting" federal funding on shopping sprees and sexually explicit workshops, a Washington Times editorial states. The editorial cites a report by government watchdog organization Citizens Against Government Waste that documented the expenditures of AIDS organizations that receive government funding. The report, titled "AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste," stated that organizations such as the Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco have used federal HIV/AIDS funding for "shopping trips" to department stores, calls to psychic telephone hotlines and sexually explicit HIV/AIDS prevention workshops. "AIDS is a serious problem, and every new case, no matter how acquired, is certainly a personal tragedy. But ... taxpayer money shouldn't be wasted on wasteful AIDS programs," the editorial concludes (Washington Times, 8/17).