Policy & Politics
Brazil Refuses $40 Million in U.S. AIDS Grants to Protest Policy Requiring Groups to Condemn Commercial Sex Work
May 2, 2005
Brazilian officials last week said that the country has refused $40 million in U.S. AIDS grants because of a Bush administration requirement that HIV/AIDS organizations seeking funding to provide services in other countries must pledge to oppose commercial sex work, the Wall Street Journal reports (Phillips/Moffett, Wall Street Journal, 5/2). Under the Bush administration policy, even groups whose HIV/AIDS work in other countries has nothing to do with commercial sex workers have to make a written pledge opposing commercial sex work or risk losing federal funding. In addition, the Bush administration might refuse to fund HIV/AIDS groups that do not accept Bush's social agenda on issues such as sexual abstinence and drug use. The new policy stems from two 2003 laws, one involving HIV/AIDS funding and another regarding sex trafficking (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/28). Brazilian officials last week wrote to USAID to explain its decision to refuse the remainder of a $48 million HIV/AIDS grant that began in 2003 and was scheduled to run through 2008. According to some HIV/AIDS advocates, Brazil has been a "model" for combating HIV/AIDS with its "accepting, open" policies toward commercial sex workers, injection drug users, men who have sex with men and other "high-risk" groups, the Journal reports. Brazilian authorities said that the Bush administration requirement that groups receiving funding must condemn commercial sex work would hinder the country's efforts to fight the disease, according to the Journal. "We can't control (the disease) with principles that are Manichean, theological, fundamentalist and Shiite," Pedro Chequer, director of Brazil's AIDS program and chair of the national commission that decided to refuse the grants, said, adding that the commission -- which includes cabinet ministers, scientists and AIDS advocates -- viewed the Bush administration policy as "interference that harms the Brazilian policy regarding diversity, ethical principles and human rights."
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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.