Bush Administration Requirement That U.S. AIDS Groups Oppose Commercial Sex Work ‘Misguided,’ Possibly Harmful, Editorial Says
A Bush administration requirement that U.S. HIV/AIDS organizations seeking funding to provide services in other countries must pledge to oppose commercial sex work is an attempt to "dictate sexual mores to the rest of the world, at the expense of public health" and will "do little" to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, a Los Angeles Times editorial says (Los Angeles Times, 3/20). Under the new policy, even groups whose HIV/AIDS work in other countries has nothing to do with commercial sex workers will have to make a written pledge opposing commercial sex work or risk losing federal funding. In addition, the Bush administration might refuse to fund HIV/AIDS groups that do not accept Bush's social agenda on issues such as sexual abstinence and drug use. The new policy stems from two 2003 laws, one involving HIV/AIDS funding and another regarding sex trafficking (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/28). The Bush administration's requirement that groups make a pledge against commercial sex work might have the "opposite of its intended effect, making it tougher for aid groups to reach the women who most need their help -- and who play a major role in the spread of the disease," the editorial says, adding that the policy is as "unproductive as pushing the United Nations to withdraw support for needle-exchange programs." The editorial concludes that the pledge requirement is a "misguided policy that could cost lives" (Los Angeles Times, 3/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.