Bush’s Global HIV/AIDS Programs Not Providing Enough Funding, Fight Hindered By Abstinence-Only Spending, Opinion Piece Says
Despite the Bush administration's "rhetoric about our moral duty to fight AIDS" worldwide, the president "has not committed the funds necessary to meaningfully tackle the crisis," and much of the money he has provided "is being derailed into moralistic and unproven programs that make abstinence the centerpiece of HIV prevention," Salon.com senior news editor Geraldine Sealey writes in a Salon.com opinion piece. Although Bush's five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has provided antiretroviral drugs to about 200,000 HIV-positive people living in the plan's 15 focus countries, the program "barely factors into the disease's devastating arithmetic" and so far has not met spending targets, according to Sealey. PEPFAR also has "shifted the bulk" of funding away from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is "widely recognized as the best way to distribute AIDS funds," Sealey says. The Bush administration's focus "on abstinence and monogamy ignores the reality facing young women and girls in Africa and other impoverished regions, who often are infected by wandering husbands or forced to have sex in exchange for food or shelter," Sealey writes. Some public health experts say "the administration's diversion of funds from tried-and-true HIV prevention methods is more than a misguided experiment -- it's a deadly game of Russian roulette that could mark a calamitous turn in Africa's attempts to get a handle on the AIDS epidemic," Sealey writes (Sealey, Salon.com, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.