PACHA Calls on White House To Consider Implementing ‘ABC’ HIV Prevention Method in United States
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia during a two-day meeting March 29-30 unanimously approved a resolution calling on President Bush and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to consider adopting Uganda's "ABC" method of HIV prevention -- abstinence, be faithful, use condoms -- for a campaign in the United States, the Washington Blade reports. Supporters of the resolution said that data indicate Uganda lowered its HIV prevalence 66% between 1991 and 2001 by using the ABC approach, according to the Blade. The resolution says that Bush and Thompson should "exercise bold leadership in raising domestic HIV prevention awareness as a part of the strategy to reduce new HIV infections ... with a long-term goal of no new infections." The council also voted to table a resolution calling for Bush to "immediately" appoint a permanent director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Blade reports. Carol Thompson, a former White House domestic policy adviser, became acting director of the office when Bush appointed Dr. Joe O'Neill to the State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator. The motion to table the resolution called for revisiting the issue at PACHA's next meeting in July, according to the Blade.
Council member Brent Minor -- a Washington, D.C.-based HIV/AIDS advocate and chair of PACHA's subcommittee on HIV treatment and care -- originally introduced the resolution calling for the appointment of an ONAP director, according to the Blade. PACHA Co-Chair Tom Coburn, who proposed tabling the resolution, said that the White House is "actively" looking for a new director. According to Coburn, White House officials have said that some prospective candidates were "reluctant" to accept the position during a presidential election year, which could include a change in the administration and a "shuffling in the position by a new president," according to the Blade. Coburn added, "I think there has been a great effort to fill this position." However, Rev. Edwin Sanders, the only member to vote against tabling the measure, said he was doubtful that an election year would deter possible candidates, according to the Blade. "This motion came from those who feel the White House was not giving (domestic AIDS issues) enough priority," he said (Chibbaro, Washington Blade, 4/2).