Bush’s FY 2006 Budget Proposal Expected To Include Increases for Global HIV/AIDS, Abstinence-Only Education
President Bush's fiscal year 2006 budget proposal is expected to include spending increases for abstinence-only education and global health initiatives, including HIV/AIDS programs, but eliminate or reduce spending on other health care programs, according to documents obtained by the New York Times from "budget analysts who oppose the cuts" (Pear, New York Times, 2/5). Bush is scheduled to present the $2.5 trillion budget to Congress on Monday (Quaid, AP/Hartford Courant, 2/5). Although the documents show a proposed 9% reduction in CDC's budget to $6.9 billion, the agency's budget for global health initiatives, including HIV/AIDS programs, would increase 4.2% to $306 million. Programs promoting sexual abstinence would receive an additional $38 million for a total of $192.5 million in FY 2006, an increase of more than 50% since 2004, according to the documents, the Times reports. Bush's budget proposal also would eliminate $9.9 million for a program that collects umbilical cord blood cells after childbirth, according to the documents. Some scientists say such cells contain stem cells that could be used to develop treatments for a variety of diseases, sidestepping the ethical issues surrounding the use of human embryonic stem cells (New York Times, 2/5). In addition, the president's budget has earmarked $3.2 billion for fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria internationally, according to the Washington Post (Allen/Baker, Washington Post, 2/7). While public health advocates generally support Bush's reported budget increases for the global HIV/AIDS effort, Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said he is concerned about increases to abstinence-only education spending, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Many health officials advocate a comprehensive approach to sex education, such as discussions of condoms and other forms of birth control, the Journal-Constitution reports. "We should follow the science. It says a balanced approach is the best approach," Benjamin said (Wahlberg/McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.