U.S. Officials Should Have More Flexibility in Using Abstinence Programs in HIV/AIDS Efforts, Editorial Says
"[T]here have been complaints" since the 2003 approval of a law (HR 1298) that requires the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to spend one-third of HIV/AIDS prevention funding on abstinence-until-marriage programs that the mandate was "getting in the way of efforts to fight the disease," a Boston Globe editorial says. The requirement was meant to "reinforce the ABC approach" of abstain, be faithful and use condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV, but according to a Government Accountability Office report released last week, U.S. officials have "found the abstinence guidelines confusing and difficult to balance with other prevention programs," the editorial says. The GAO report has "confirmed that the requirement is short-changing other prevention programs, including the use of drugs to prevent transmission of the virus from mothers to children," the editorial says. U.S. efforts to stem the spread of HIV in developing countries would be "more effective" if Congress gave U.S. officials "more flexibility in balancing abstinence[-based]" programs with other HIV prevention and education efforts, according to the editorial (Boston Globe, 4/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.