KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, December 15, 2005

U.S: Preach Abstinence, or No AIDS Research $$

The Bush administration will cause thousands more AIDS victims to die just so that it can preach sexual abstinence. As a recent Baltimore Sun article (free registration required for access) reported:

In a decision that has alarmed many public health researchers and AIDS advocates, the Bush administration is increasing the amount of HIV money that must be used to promote abstinence, while at the same time limiting funds for condoms. Opponents see the move as the latest attempt by the White House and religious conservatives to expand what they view as an unscientific and ineffective HIV prevention strategy. Critics say the approach could cost lives in the developing world.

"It's outrageous and stupid," said Duff Gillespie, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "From a public health point of view, it's irresponsible." Until 2002, Gillespie was in charge of AIDS programs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which distributes most federal money targeting the disease. ...

The directive, which took effect Oct. 1, applies to only international HIV prevention. In fiscal year 2005, the U.S. spent $295 million on such programs. The budget is likely to increase in 2006.

The guideline decrees that two-thirds of funding devoted to preventing sexual transmission of AIDS must be spent on programs that encourage abstinence and fidelity.

It is described in a document from the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which oversees the administration's AIDS effort. Under the heading "Key Policy Changes for Fiscal Year '06 Country Operational Plans," the document reads in part: "66 percent of resources dedicated to prevention of HIV from sexual transmission must be used for activities that promote abstinence before marriage and fidelity."

A copy of the document was given to the Sun by a federal AIDS official who was concerned that the policy would weaken the U.S. international HIV prevention effort. Fearing retribution, he asked to remain anonymous. ...

This is not the first time the Bush administration has been accused of making AIDS policy on ideological grounds. In February, USAID awarded $9 million to the Children's AIDS Fund to promote abstinence in Uganda, even though the group had been deemed "not suitable for funding" by the agency's expert committee.

This summer, the agency withdrew funding from an approved prevention program for Central American sex workers after conservative lawmakers complained that the project encouraged prostitution.

This year, the White House decreed that U.S. AIDS groups receiving government funding must sign a pledge opposing prostitution. More than 200 groups protested, saying the vow infringes on free speech and makes it harder to work with prostitutes, who are viewed as a key constituency in stopping the spread of AIDS.

Gillespie, of Hopkins, sees the moves as part of a pattern. "None of this thinking is encumbered by facts. We're talking ideology," he said. "There's a fundamental hostility toward the idea of policies that are driven by evidence."

A 30-year veteran of the agency, he says the current White House takes a far more ideological stance toward public health than did the Reagan or first Bush administrations.

What's wrong with increasing the size of the AIDS epidemic if it lets Bush's "Christian" crew spread its brand of disinformation, eh?


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. Can you really be this ignorant? Did you actually say its Bush's fault that people die from AIDS? Heaven forbid we actually teach people to keep their peckers in their pants and accept responsibility for their actions. But no. Apparently you're on a crusade against common sense (but that much is blatantly apparent in your silly postings). You, like every other socialist I've seen, are living in a world of fabrication and lies sustained only by other socialists in which you placate by constant back-patting and Bush-whacking. The only way you can give meaning to your endless list of complaints about life is to badmouth republicans without giving so much as a single alternative solution. Just WHINE WHINE. Wow.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

First, Anonymous from Kansas City (my blog stats say that's where you hail from), calling names—while hiding behind the name Anonymous, no less—doesn't help prove the points you're trying to make. Treating those with whom you disagree with respect increases the chances that they'll actually listen to you. Can you really not know that?

Second, I didn't say that I don't believe people should be sexually responsible. I didn't say that I advocate sleeping around and not using condoms.

Third, your disagreeing with my stance doesn't make me lacking in common sense. It just means that we disagree.

Fourth, when the Bush administration and its allies make regulations that discourage disseminating information about condom use, then yes, Bush is responsible for more people dying from AIDS than otherwise would have if those regulations didn't exist. More people might use condoms—and thus avoid contracting and/or spreading HIV—if they were allowed to be told about condom use. Keeping people ignorant doesn't keep them healthy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous thinks it's you who's living in an imaginary world?

And Anonymous is calling a genuine entrepreneur--probably the only one he's ever come across that isn't affiliated with Amway--a socialist?

And Anonymous thinks AIDS will disappear if HHS will only give him a grant to go about telling men to keep their peckers in their pants?

When I see GWB on TV, I always say, "Who on earth could be so deluded as to have voted for that dumb smirk?" and now I have an answer.

erinberry said...

Don't you love the cowards who post as "anonymous"? No balls, no balls at all.

And I think it's hilarious the way he/she has managed to bring socialism into his/her "argument." What a sad, ignorant little wanker!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thanks, J. Anne and Erinberry. I think Anonymous accidentally wandered into an arena of intelligent discourse, was terrified, and spouted off in fear.

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