U.S. Regulations for Groups Receiving AIDS Funding Must Be ‘Reasonable, Humane, Realistic,’ Editorial Says
The U.S. "has the right to place whatever strings it wants on support for international AIDS programs," but such regulations should be "reasonable, humane and realistic about controlling as quickly and surely as possible this devastating epidemic," a Louisville Courier-Journal editorial says (Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/6). The Bush administration in June notified U.S. organizations providing HIV/AIDS-related services in other countries that they had to sign a pledge opposing commercial sex work and sex trafficking to be considered for federal funding. The policy stems from two 2003 laws, including an amendment to legislation (HR 1298) authorizing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that prohibits funds from going to any group or organization that does not have a policy "explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/8). As a result, Brazil -- which is "responding realistically and humanely to an element that is particularly vulnerable" by providing condoms at no cost to commercial sex workers -- might have to forgo up to $40 million in U.S. funding for its national HIV/AIDS initiatives, even though its programs have shown "impressive success," according to the editorial. Similarly, Senegal no longer receives U.S. funding for its HIV/AIDS programs, the Courier-Journal says. The "religious right" in the U.S. "continues to use its muscle with the Bush administration to mangle AIDS policies," even though they contradict what other countries' leaders have determined are "the best practices for fighting HIV/AIDS among their indigenous people," the editorial says, adding, "This makes no sense" (Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.