Bush Administration’s ‘Ideological’ Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention Impedes Efforts To Fight Disease, Opinion Piece Says
Although "fair-minded" people would not accuse the United States of being "stingy" in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, the Bush administration's "ideological" approach to HIV/AIDS prevention "creates headaches" for the country's global partners and hinders efforts to help stop the spread of HIV, columnist Carol Goar writes in a Toronto Star opinion piece. Efforts by the Bush administration to "discourag[e]" condom use, as well as the administration's "resist[ance]" to generic antiretroviral drugs and determination to "have nothing to do" with needle-exchange programs, "impede" the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to Goar. The results of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime's 48th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria, which ended Monday, will "show how far America's allies are prepared to go to accommodate its doctrinaire approach" to HIV/AIDS prevention, Goar says (Goar, Toronto Star, 3/14). UNODC views needle exchanges, in which injection drug users can turn in used needles and obtain clean ones, as part of a comprehensive strategy to fight drug use. However, the United States views needle-exchange programs as promoting drug use and says that drug use itself -- not a lack of clean needles -- is behind the danger of HIV and other bloodborne diseases (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/8). Although some AIDS advocates have urged the meeting delegates "not to be bullied into endorsing the U.S. position" on needle-exchange programs, it appeared as though meeting delegates would endorse a "bland consensus" that would allow the United States to "keep flexing its financial and political muscles behind the scenes," Goar says, concluding that for "all its resources and good intentions," the United States is a "tragically blinkered general in a fight the world can't afford to lose" (Toronto Star, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.