Questioning of NIH Sexual Health, AIDS Research Subordinates ‘Good Health Information’ to ‘Puritanical Agenda,’ Editorial Says
"[R]espected professionals who seek answers to sexual questions -- including what teens may not know about birth control and how best to stop the spread of AIDS -- have to justify their existence" now that the Traditional Values Coalition has prompted "righteous lawmakers" to question NIH-funded research projects, a Detroit Free Press editorial says (Detroit Free Press, 11/14). In an apparent mix-up, a congressional staff member last month sent NIH a list of more than 200 grants representing more than $100 million in funding instead of a shorter list of 10 grants that conservative House members have questioned for several months. The longer list was prepared by TVC, which says it represents 43,000 churches nationwide. As a result of the longer list being sent, NIH began calling researchers whose grants were on the list as part of a report for Congress on broad categories of grants (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/30). The situation is "just the continuation of the nightmare that began when the religious right took over Washington, [D.C.]," which has lead to the "subordinat[ion]" of "good health information" to a "puritanical agenda," the editorial says. Scientists, who the "NIH had already put ... through rigorous screening," are being "put through the ringer [for wanting] to study or inform Americans' sexual habits," the editorial says, concluding, "One would think even the puritans would want such information, so that they'd know what kinds of dangerous behavior needs to be discouraged" (Detroit Free Press, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.