Breaking the Promise: The Politics of Domestic HIV Prevention

Our country's founders left us all many pearls of wisdom and word to live by. Ben Franklin of course was full of them, including "An ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure" and "Half the Truth is often a great Lie." These words couldn't be any more relevant than when they were furst uttered in the 18th century – yet policy makers reject this solid advice, particularly when it comes to public health, especially anything that has to do with sexual relations.

A concise and to the point SIECUS report lays out just how the Administration and their partners-in-crime in the Congress have actually prevented good prevention policies – leaving the United States stalled in reducing the number of new HIV infections. "Breaking the Promise: The Politics of Domestic HIV Prevention" describes some of ways opponents of practical, effective and evidence-based prevention measures have hijacked resources, vilified condoms, and redirected attention elsewhere.

In describing the Administration's transformation from risk-reduction interventions to a risk-elimination strategy for HIV prevention and all things sexual, one can't help but wonder what these guys are thinking. To continue to pursue a public health strategy that is based solely on their version of "perfect behavior" of individuals is like basing your retirement on winning the lottery. It's luck – not science, and not sound thinking.

The report includes a series of recommendations that both Congress and state legislatures should take as they begin new legislative sessions. Among them is that the too many million dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs needs to be redirected to real prevention programs. Truthful information needs to be imparted to our citizens so they can make the decisions to best protect themselves from HIV and other diseases. Ben Franklin would agree with that.

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