Policy & Politics
CDC to Investigate How Conference Panel on STIs, Abstinence Education Was Formed, Official Says
May 15, 2006
CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner on Friday said the agency will investigate the original formation of a panel that last week discussed efficacy of abstinence-until-marriage programs in reducing the rate of sexually transmitted infections at the 2006 National STD Prevention Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., last week, CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/12). According to government officials, CDC changed the name of the abstinence panel, which was held on Tuesday, from "Are Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs a Threat to Public Health?" to "Public Health Strategies of Abstinence Programs for Youth," and the conference added two speakers to the panel who were not reviewed by the meeting's organizers and removed another. The office of Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) in an e-mail sent to HHS earlier this month had asked whether CDC was "clear about the controversial nature of [the conference] and its obvious antiabstinence objective" and asked for a shift in the focus of the conference. Souder was concerned because one of the speakers on the original panel was scheduled to speak about a report produced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that is critical of abstinence programs, while no one was scheduled to speak in favor of the programs. Waxman on Tuesday in a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt questioned whether the department allowed Souder to influence the change in the panel, calling on HHS and CDC to pledge that decisions about future members of conference panels be made by scientists and their public health colleagues "and not [be] subjected to political litmus tests" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 5/11).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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