Bush’s International AIDS, Family Planning Policies Based on ‘What Appeals to Conservatives,’ Editorial Says
The Bush administration's policies on international AIDS prevention, family planning and sex education programs, which can "mean life or death to the people who use them," are "increasingly not based on what saves lives, but on what appeals to conservatives at home," a New York Times editorial says. Conservatives in Congress see working with "sex workers, gay men or drug users ... as an endorsement of abhorrent behavior" and have "forced [USAID] to discourage" projects that target these groups, the Times says. However, because people within these populations are most likely to contract and transmit HIV, "[t]o ignore them is to fuel the epidemic," the editorial says. Condoms are also "under attack"; Bush's decision to stop funds from going to any international family planning group that talks about or provides abortions has "effectively stopped condom provision in 16 countries and reduced it to 13 others," the editorial says. In addition, although "every good AIDS prevention program includes messages about postponing sex or reducing the number of sexual partners," a provision in the congressional authorization for the global AIDS initiative that requires one-third of AIDS prevention money to go toward abstinence education programs "will strip needed funds from more effective programs," the Times says. "The right's answer to AIDS is the sexual equivalent of 'just say no' and is no more effective," the editorial says, concluding, "It should not become the foundation of Washington's efforts to fight AIDS abroad" (New York Times, 10/15).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.