Council Calls on Bush for HIV Battle Plan
May 20, 2002
The Bush administration should develop a plan to "eliminate" new HIV infections in the United States, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) has recommended in its first advisory letter to the White House. "We are concerned that a sense of urgency seems lacking" even with 40,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, members of PACHA said in a May 1 letter to President Bush. "A plan with a time line for eradication of the epidemic should be developed and implemented immediately," they said.
Set up during the Clinton administration to advise the White House on HIV/AIDS policies, PACHA was newly impaneled in March with 26 Bush appointees and 9 previous Clinton appointees. The panel also said they will "revisit current strategies" in AIDS prevention "to determine if they are, indeed, still the most effective methods of prevention education."
PACHA members called for "public and visible leadership" on HIV/AIDS; more funding for the $810 million AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP); more funds for the global fight against AIDS; and easing Medicaid rules so more people with AIDS could be served.
"I do believe in condoms for HIV prevention," PACHA co-chairperson Dr. Tom Coburn told the Advocate in its May 28th issue. "But I also believe in informed consent about the effectiveness of condoms. Ask any expert you want and they will tell you that condoms are not always effective, and people have a right to know this," said Coburn. "If you asked if all gay men were monogamous, would there be fewer HIV infections, the answer is yes," he said. "The consequences of non-monogamy are terrible. It tears up relationships and can make people vulnerable to [STDs]." Coburn called for more emphasis on personal responsibility in HIV campaigns. "If people who know they are-HIV positive, whether straight or gay, would simply take care not to give the virus to someone else, we would have 25,000 infections per year instead of 50,000," he said.
05.19.02; Cheryl Wetzstein
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.