By Elizabeth Dwoskin
Saturday, April 8, 2006
An April 4 government study that evaluated the Bush administration's program to fight HIV-AIDS found that a mandate promoting abstinence-only sex education worldwide was confusing for those who implement it and sometimes hindered comprehensive educational programs for populations at high risk for HIV.
The Government Accountability Office, the congressional budget watchdog, said in its independent report that 17 out of 20 U.S. Agency for International Development teams in 17 surveyed countries told investigators the abstinence requirement hampered their ability to respond to "local prevention needs." The mandate requires that individual teams spend at least one-third of their anti-AIDS funding on promoting sexual abstinence.
The report also identified widespread confusion about whether USAID workers were allowed to teach about condoms, since the term "condom promotion" is prohibited by the legislation, while there is ambiguity surrounding the term "condom education."
"Unfortunately, this report demonstrates the Bush administration's willingness to make AIDS prevention policy a political plaything in their ongoing effort to appease the far right," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said. "We should be relying on science, not ideology, to stop this pandemic."
"Budget Falls Short for Domestic Violence Programs":
The Government Accountability Office--
GLOBAL HEALTH: Spending Requirement Presents Challenges for Allocating Prevention Funding under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
[Adobe PDF format]:
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