Bush Administration ‘Giveth, Taketh Away’ in Fight Against Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Editorial Says
Although the Bush administration has made "breakthrough[s]" in the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, it also has engaged in "loopy foreign aid" practices regarding HIV/AIDS prevention programs, a Berkshire Eagle editorial says (Berkshire Eagle, 6/1). The law (HR 1298) authorizing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief endorses the "ABC" HIV prevention model -- Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms -- which has had success in lowering HIV prevalence rates in Uganda. The measure also specifies that one-third of the bill's HIV/AIDS prevention funding be used for abstinence programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/22). Although the Bush administration in May announced plans to establish a new FDA fast-track review program to speed the delivery of low-cost antiretroviral drugs -- including fixed-dose combination drugs -- to African and Caribbean nations covered under PEPFAR, the shift is a "belated gift," the Eagle says. The editorial says that the "destructive withholding" of funds for prevention projects that include condom distribution is "money down a rat hole," adding that "the Bush administration giveth and the Bush administration taketh away" in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "Hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars will go toward these crackpot schemes, despite years of evidence that abstinence programs work well only in combination with condom distribution," the editorial says, concluding that the administration's "anti-condom crusade ... will surely negate much of its other AIDS-fighting good work" (Berkshire Eagle, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.