How would AIDS service organizations in American cities respond if they had to sign the anti-prostitution pledge required of PEPFAR grantees? What impact would that pledge have on Americans at risk for HIV infection?
What do European AIDS advocates have to say about PEPFAR? “The ab-only earmarked funding in PEPFAR goes against modern principles of effective aid … ab-only approaches have no effect in the developing world where a significant percentage of sexual initiation among young girls is coerced or forced.”
In order to make real progress, there has to be a paradigm shift in our perception of sex and sexuality in the context of HIV. Money tied with restrictions that exclude many groups and limit access to services will only save to extend the lifeline of the epidemic.
Last night, I spent the evening doing what every Washington ideologue who supports the “prostitution pledge” should be required to do–I walked through a community called Kafue, in Zambia.
The PEPFAR reauthorization bill currently in the House falls short on several critical measures, demonstrating its adherence to ideology over evidence-based prevention strategies.
The HIV prevention paradigm given to us by the U.S. government — abstain, be faithful and use condoms — is irrelevant for many, even most, vulnerable women and girls. They cannot abstain, they are already faithful, and their partners refuse to use condoms.
Congressman Tom Lantos died before completing work to improve PEPFAR. Some of his last words chided GOP ideologues, and could apply to some AIDS advocates who are running from a fight Lantos was eager to engage.
A group standing in the way of passing a bill on U.S. global HIV/AIDS prevention is fixated on abstinence-only measures as a remedy, ignoring the “crushing weight of the evidence” to the contrary.