Brazil’s Rejection of U.S. AIDS Funding To Protest Condemnation of Commercial Sex Work ‘Sensible,’ Editorial Says
Brazil's rejection of $40 million in U.S. AIDS grants because of a Bush administration requirement that HIV/AIDS organizations seeking funding to provide services in other countries must pledge to oppose commercial sex work is "sensible and humane," a Sacramento Bee editorial says (Sacramento Bee, 5/7). Brazilian officials last week said that the country has refused $40 million in U.S. AIDS grants because the pledge requirement would hinder the country's efforts to fight the disease. Under the policy, even groups whose HIV/AIDS work in other countries has nothing to do with commercial sex workers have to make a written pledge opposing commercial sex work or risk losing funding. In addition, the Bush administration could 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, 5/2). Brazil's national HIV/AIDS program encourages abstinence and sexual fidelity but also provides safe-sex education, distributes condoms and offers antiretroviral drugs to any HIV-positive individual, according to the Bee. Although some U.S. residents "insist on a moral litmus test for those receiving U.S. assistance," Pedro Chequer -- director of Brazil's AIDS program and chair of the national commission that decided to refuse the grants -- "has a point" that the country's program cannot operate under "theological, fundamentalist and Shiite" principles, the editorial says. HIV-positive Brazilians are "fortunate" that U.S. funding is "only a small part" of their country's national AIDS program, the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 5/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.