Opinion & Commentary
USAID Should Restore Funding for HIV Prevention Program in Central America, Opinion Piece Says
August 29, 2005
USAID's decision to "cu[t] off" funding for a Population Services International program in Central America that teaches commercial sex workers and their clients about condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS "is an absurd approach to curtailing AIDS" and funding should be restored, New York Times editorial board member Helene Cooper writes in a Times opinion piece. The program -- called Noches Vives -- sends health care workers to bars, brothels and other places commercial sex workers meet to teach condom use and HIV/AIDS prevention in a "simple and straightforward" way, according to Cooper. However, shortly after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wrote a letter to President Bush requesting that USAID halt funding for the program, the agency notified PSI that it no longer would provide funding for Noches Vives, Cooper writes. "Coburn, a doctor, has apparently forgotten everything they taught him in medical school," Cooper says, adding that condom use "isn't far behind" abstinence as "a surefire way to prevent AIDS." She concludes, "Let's hope the folks at USAID come to their senses soon" (Cooper, New York Times, 8/26).
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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.