How Bush's AIDS Policy "Helps"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How Bush's AIDS Policy "Helps"

Today's Washington Post includes this article on the GAO report examining the impact of the Bush administration's AIDS plan:
The requirement that a large fraction of President Bush's global AIDS plan go to promote abstinence and fidelity is causing confusion in many countries and in a few is eroding other prevention efforts ...

The Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator requires that 20 percent of all AIDS spending go for prevention. Half the prevention budget must be spent to stop sexual transmission of HIV. Two-thirds of that spending, in turn, must be used promoting abstinence and fidelity.

"Most of the 20 PEPFAR teams . . . reported that fulfilling [that requirement] presents challenges to their ability to respond to the local epidemiology and cultural and social norms," the GAO authors wrote.

... Of the 15 "focus countries" -- 12 African countries, plus Haiti, Guyana and Vietnam -- nine reduced the amount of money for programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in their 2006 budgets to meet the spending target for abstinence promotion.
Does this statistic bother any of those conservative congressmen who talk so much about how they want to protect "the unborn"?
In perhaps the largest adjustment, one country cut from $8 million to $4 million its spending on prevention services for couples in which one person has HIV infection and the other does not -- an extremely high-risk group -- as well as on sexually active youths and sex workers.

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