Bush Appoints Three New Members to Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
President Bush last month named three new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, including an advocate of sexual abstinence and fidelity, an expert on minority AIDS programs and an advocate of "traditional" public health methods for the prevention of HIV, such as mandatory contact tracing and partner notification, the Washington Blade reports (Chibbaro, Washington Blade, 8/22). Appointee Edward Green, a medical anthropologist and senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, supports a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention that includes abstinence, condom use and faithfulness to sexual partners, with the latter likely being the most important, according to Green (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/8). However, Douglas Feldman, an anthropology professor at the State University of New York who is familiar with Green through "anthropology circles," said that Green has called condom promotion "a waste of time and money" and supports abstinence-only and monogomy programs for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa, according to the Blade. "It is likely that he will use his position on the Advisory Council to support abstinence/fidelity-only programs and oppose condom promotion in the United States as well," Feldman said. Carl Schmid, a gay Republican advocate, said that Green does not oppose condom programs, noting that in testimony before a House subcommittee on health in March Green said that condom programs should be part of HIV prevention programs. Green could not be reached for comment, according to the Blade.
Bush also appointed to PACHA Dr. Benny Primm, a New York City physician and chair of the National Minority AIDS Council. AIDS and gay rights advocates have lauded Primm for his sensitivity to the gay community. Primm is also a specialist in the use of substance abuse treatment programs for HIV prevention. Bush last month also appointed Dr. Franklyn Judson, a Denver physician and chief of infectious disease services for the Denver Health Medical Center. Judson, an advocate of using traditional public health methods to help prevent the spread of HIV, supports mandatory contact tracting and partner notification for people who test HIV-positive. Judson, along with PACHA Co-Chair and former Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and some public health officials, says that the management of HIV/AIDS has been treated differently from other diseases, such as tuberculosis and syphilis, according to the Blade. Coburn and PACHA member Dr. Joe McIlhaney, president and founder of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, have called on the council to adopt a resolution urging the Bush administration to push for traditional public health methods to control HIV. However, sources close to PACHA said that the majority of the council rejected the proposal during subcommittee meetings in July, according to the Blade. The full council is expected to vote on a "watered down" version of Coburn and McIlhaney's proposal at a future meeting, the Blade reports (Washington Blade, 8/22).