Commentary & Opinion
USAID's Withdrawal of Funding for Central American HIV Prevention Programs Damaging, Letter to the Editor Says
September 8, 2005
USAID's decision to decrease or cancel funds for some HIV prevention programs in Central America causes "damage" to efforts to control the spread of the virus "from high-risk groups to the general population," Jorge Saavedra, director general of Mexico's National Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor in response to an Aug. 26 Times opinion piece (Saavedra, New York Times, 9/7). Times editorial board member Helene Cooper wrote in the opinion piece that USAID's decision to "cu[t] off" funding for Population Services International's Noches Vives program in Central America -- which teaches commercial sex workers and their clients about condom use to prevent the spread of HIV -- "is an absurd approach to curtailing AIDS" and funding should be restored (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/29). Although prevention programs emphasizing abstinence and fidelity "have a probability of working within the context of generalized epidemics," they are "completely useless" in reducing the risk of HIV transmission among commercial sex workers, Saavedra writes, concluding that "we need the C -- condoms -- and we still need intitiatives like those developed with American funds by Population Services International/Mexico and the Pan American Social Marketing Organization" to prevent the spread of HIV (New York Times, 9/7).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.