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National News

HIV Prevention Groups Say Bush Administration Is Targeting Their Work

October 1, 2002

The Bush administration has pulled information about the effectiveness of condoms from a government Web site and is engaged in a "witch hunt" against those who promote condoms to fight AIDS, several groups charge. They argue that the administration is hostile to HIV prevention and sex education that is not based on abstinence-only, which discourages all sex before marriage and bars discussion of the benefits of birth control and condom use.

The advocacy groups said Monday they are particularly concerned about federal agency audits, now underway, to examine the finances and programming of AIDS groups. "It's a campaign to censor science and research, and it's a campaign to use government auditors to intimidate opponents of the administration on key policy issues," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a group that promotes education about birth control and condom use. The administration says it is simply making sure that tax dollars are properly spent. Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Claude Allen called any suggestion of a witch hunt laughable.

Advocates point to a series of actions in the last year:

  • Information explaining the effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV transmission has been pulled from the CDC Web site. Also gone is a section called "Programs that Work," which focused on HIV and highlighted several proven programs that involve condom use.

  • A broad review of HHS AIDS spending, ordered by Secretary Tommy Thompson, is underway and includes grants to outside groups. Allen said he knew of no other HHS-funded programs undergoing similar scrutiny.


  • The HHS inspector general is investigating at least eight AIDS programs to see if their content is too sexually explicit or promotes sexual activity.

  • Members of Congress also have twice asked HHS to further investigate AIDS groups.

"There is a fear out in the community that if they produce something or say something inappropriate, or what is deemed as inappropriate, they will lose their funding," said Mary Ann Green of Florida AIDS Action.

Back to other CDC news for October 1, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Associated Press
10.01.02; Laura Meckler

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.