Commentary & Opinion
Wall Street Journal Columnist Examines Criticism of Population Services International's Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention
March 4, 2005
The not-for-profit organization Population Services International -- which uses a market-based "Madison Avenue-style sizzle" to promote abstinence, fidelity and safer sex -- "finds itself in the crosshairs" of some conservatives who oppose the group's promotion of condoms, Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel writes in a Journal opinion piece. PSI -- which receives almost half of its $250 million annual budget from federal funding -- purchases products such as HIV tests, anti-malarial mosquito netting and water-purification tablets on the open market and sells them at "deep discounts" to people in developing countries through local retailers, according to Wessel. The group also uses marketing campaigns that include songs produced by local artists and advertisements usually cleared by local health authorities to promote the "ABC" HIV/AIDS prevention method -- which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms, Wessel says. However, PSI's critics say the group's promotion of condoms "promotes sex among those who would otherwise avoid it," according to Wessel. Regardless of the criticism, the organization "tries, harder than many other nonprofits, to measure its effectiveness at improving health" and "prizes results above prejudices," Wessel writes.
Politics and Prevention
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