Rep. Waxman Questions Why CDC Guidelines on HIV Prevention Have Not Been Updated, Suggests Politics as a Possible Factor
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Tuesday in a letter to CDC Director Julie Gerberding questioned why HIV prevention guidelines issued by CDC have not been updated since 1999 and suggested that politics might be a factor, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. According to the AP/Chronicle, CDC in 1999 issued guidelines titled the "Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness," which summarize the 24 most effective HIV prevention interventions known in the U.S. Organizations that receive federal funding for HIV prevention programs often use the guidelines as a "tool" when designing and implementing prevention programs, the AP/Chronicle reports. "It is perhaps not coincidental that the new prevention programs include interventions that some political constituencies oppose, such as condom instruction for high-risk populations," Waxman wrote in the letter. CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner said the agency is carefully considering Waxman's letter, adding that CDC "look[s] forward to responding to the concerns raised" by Waxman. Some HIV/AIDS advocates agree that an update of CDC's recommendations is needed, the AP/Chronicle reports. According to Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, organizations are under pressure to ensure that prevention resources are used efficiently. "Relying on interventions from 1999 in 2006 is really quite unacceptable," she said. Scofield also noted that state and local health departments are especially interested in HIV prevention programs that have been shown to be effective in high-risk populations, including blacks and Latinos (Freking, AP/Houston Chronicle, 5/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.