Baltimore Sun Examines Debate Over Bush Administration’s Requirement That AIDS Groups Oppose Commercial Sex Work
The Baltimore Sun on Sunday examined the debate over the Bush administration's requirement that U.S. organizations providing HIV/AIDS-related services in other countries sign a pledge opposing commercial sex work and sex trafficking to be considered for federal funding. "The anti-prostitution push is the latest in a string of health policy moves made on ideological grounds," according to the Sun (Kohn, Baltimore Sun, 8/28). 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." The policy originally applied only to overseas groups because the Department of Justice had constitutional free speech concerns in applying it to U.S. organizations. However, DOJ in 2004 reversed itself and said that the administration could apply the rule to U.S. groups. The law was amended last year to exclude multinational groups, including the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and U.N. agencies (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/10). On one side of the debate, "mainstream" public health groups say that commercial sex workers must be educated about condoms and other prevention practices to lower their risk of HIV infection, but some groups on the other side say working with commercial sex workers "perpetuates an inherently evil practice" by inadvertently supporting sex work, according to the Sun (Baltimore Sun, 8/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.