Science Magazine Profiles HHS Office of Global Health Affairs Director Steiger, Who Has ‘Ruffled Feathers’ in HIV/AIDS Research Community
The Sept. 10 issue of Science magazine profiles William Steiger, director of HHS' Office of Global Health Affairs and special assistant to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who has become a "lighting rod for critics," including some HIV/AIDS advocates who say that his "unprecedented level of oversight ... is motivated more by political ideology than fiscal prudence." Steiger has "ruffled feathers" in the HIV/AIDS research community by being a "hard-nosed enforcer" of the Bush administration's "controversial" abstinence-based HIV prevention approach and its restrictions on the use of generic antiretroviral drugs until they have received FDA approval, according to Science. In addition, his "crackdowns" on international travel -- including a decision to send only 50 HHS staff members to the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in July -- also have "gotten attention" in the international scientific community, Science reports. However, Steiger says he has led a "major expansion" of HHS international activities and that "no HHS secretary in history has been as devoted to global health" as Thompson, who chairs the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Steiger has said that his critics "have axes to grind" and that such criticism "overlooks what's been accomplished," Science reports (Kaiser, Science, 9/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.