PEPFAR ‘Rests Upon Science-Based, Balanced’ Prevention Approach, Tobias Says in Letter to Editor
A May 18 New York Times editorial "unfairly dismisse[d] United States efforts to prevent HIV infection," Ambassador Randall Tobias, head of the State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, writes in a Times letter to the editor (Tobias, New York Times, 5/25). The editorial said that the administration was "spurred by the religious right" to channel one-third of its funding for international HIV/AIDS prevention programs into abstinence programs beginning in 2006. The editorial added that condoms have helped to reduce HIV prevalence in Uganda, Brazil and Zambia, and the Bush administration "is using pseudoscience to justify its decisions." The editorial also said that abstinence programs "alone are insufficient" and that the administration's "benighted policies put millions at risk" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/18). However, Tobias writes that "[r]eliance on condoms alone, in the face of the data, would be a tragic error," citing a 2003 study by International Family Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health as saying, "Even with increased supply and promotion many people will still not use condoms, especially with their main partners." Tobias concludes that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief "rests upon a science-based, balanced approach to AIDS prevention" (New York Times, 5/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.