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U.S. News

Report Criticizes PEPFAR Program

January 29, 2010

A new report issued by the Council for Global Equality and the Center for American Progress criticizes the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as putting politics ahead of HIV prevention science. Social conservatism has distorted PEPFAR's policies, limiting its reach abroad, according to the report. Its author, Scott Evertz, was director of the Office of National AIDS Policy during President George W. Bush's first term.


The consequences "include inadequate attention to the needs of men who have sex with men, failure to address laws that have impeded outreach to underserved LGBT communities, exclusion of programs targeting commercial sex workers and injecting drug users, and inadequate attention to sex education, particularly the correct usage of condoms," the organizations said. "These and other shortfalls detailed in the report have undermined the science-based approach needed to win the fight against HIV and AIDS."

"Mr. Evertz' observations of what went wrong with PEPFAR are first-hand," said Michael Guest, the council's senior advisor. "His specific recommendations to improve the program reflect both an expert's knowledge of HIV/AIDS problems facing LGBT communities abroad as well as the political shoals on which a science-based approach to HIV/AIDS prevention has foundered."

Among the report's recommendations are:

  • Eliminate funding quotas for abstinence and "be faithful" programs.
  • Encourage prevention programs that are reflective of human rights and dignity, including the repeal of laws that criminalize homosexual conduct and/or relationships and that impede organizational efforts to target services to LGBT people.
  • Ensure PEPFAR funds are not distributed, directly or indirectly, to groups or persons that engage in anti-gay rhetoric.
  • Incorporate reproductive health services and family planning in PEPFAR.
  • Fund needle-exchange programs, now that Congress has dropped the ban on federal funding of NEPs.

The report, "How Ideology Trumped Science," is available at

Back to other news for January 2010

Adapted from:
Bay Windows (Boston)
01.19.2010; Rex Wockner

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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.
See Also
More Viewpoints on U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)