Bush Administration’s Overseas HIV/AIDS Funding Focus on Abstinence-Until-Marriage Programs Is ‘Dangerous Strategy,’ Editorial Says
Although President Bush "deserves much credit" for the increase in U.S. funding for international HIV/AIDS initiatives, he and Congress also must "shoulder the blame for letting ideology rather than sound public health policy drive how the money is spent," a New York Times editorial says. A recent Government Accountability Office report finds that U.S. laws financing overseas HIV/AIDS programs require that 33% of prevention funds go toward abstinence and fidelity programs. This requirement "drastically limits the money and flexibility for broader, proven strategies to combat" the spread of HIV, the editorial says. The editorial adds that "elevation of ideology over both science and local needs" ignores "human nature," and the emphasis on abstinence also "ignores the situation in countries like India or Russia, which have exploding HIV/AIDS problems" stemming largely from injection drug use and commercial sex work. "While promoting abstinence and faithfulness is important, de-emphasizing effective programs that involve condoms, as the [Bush] administration has been doing, is a dangerous strategy," the editorial concludes (New York Times, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.