HIV/AIDS Fight Remains High Priority for United States?

Question

Hi Dr.

Take a look to this statement http://www.america.gov/st/health-english/2007/May/20070522175313atiayduj0.4688532.html and tell us what do you think about it, is it true? I think that we are lossing the battle against VIH/AIDS, but then I remember your words "be positive" at all, just wait and will see that God has mercy for us.

Youve helped me in the past and now I read your posts everyday, is better than the newspaper. Regards.

A big fan. E.L.

Answer

Hi E.L.,

The truth is that Bush's much-lauded Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has succeeded on some levels by providing life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to some of those in need in selected countries. However, PEPFAR's abstinence-focused prevention programs have put many more lives in jeopardy. How does one judge a policy that sustains lives by providing treatment to some, but then promotes increased HIV-infection rates (and ultimately increased HIV/AIDS deaths) by insisting on policies that sabotage prevention? Under current policy one third of all PEPFAR money allocated to HIV prevention is specifically dedicated to abstinence-only campaigns often run by Bush's evangelical allies. These programs have been proven in study after study to be ineffective. HIV activists have spent the last two decades trying to show that condoms aren't just for prostitutes and the promiscuous. Bush has essentially undone much of this work!

Bush's record on combating the HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S. can be added to a long list of his spectacular failures. From his waste of billions of taxpayer dollars on ineffective abstinence-until-marriage sex education programs to his failure to allow funds to be used for needle-exchange programs, which have been proven to reduce HIV infections, to his yearly budget cuts for HIV prevention and treatment programs, his legacy in this arena, like so many others, is one of failures with tragic consequences. The CDC will soon be revising the rate of annual new HIV infections in the U.S. from 40,000/year to 60,000/year! "You're doing a heck of a job, Bushie!"

Dr. Bob