Passes Bureaucratic and Politically Correct Solutions to Alleviate AIDS
For Immediate Release.
May 5, 2003 On May
1, 2003, the House of Representatives passed, by a 375-41 vote, the
United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Act H.R. 1298. The measure would allocate $15 billion during the next five years
through direct loans and multilateral grants for AIDS and HIV prevention,
treatment, and care to 12 nations in Africa where 30 million have been
infected, as well as to Haiti and Guyana.
Unfortunately, H.R. 1298 is flawed (as is much legislation in
Washington) and once again squanders the hard-earned taxpayers money
on bureaucracy and hypothetical snake oil.
The best way to protect
oneself from sexually transmitted diseases such as the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is
through sexual abstinence. Another
method proposed to be just as effective is condom use. However, when used correctly, condoms are still not 100 percent
effective against the HIV virus and provide a relative protection rate
of approximately 85 percent. For
example, in Cambodia, brothel-based sex workers have the highest prevalence
of HIV. A 100 percent condom use program was implemented
in the port city of SihnoukVille in 1999 among female sex workers in
response to a 40 percent HIV prevalence rate found among the brothel
based sex workers. Researchers
from the University of California San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention
examined this population in a study entitled, “HIV and correlates of
consistent condom use among fishermen who have sex with sex workers,
SihanoukVille, Cambodia, 2000.” The
researchers found that one half of the fishermen surveyed used condoms
consistently with sex workers despite a 100 percent use program in SihanoukVille. And more likely to hold a misconception on how HIV is transmitted
were fishermen who actually used condoms consistently with sex workers.
An alternative to condom
programs to provide effective HIV/AIDS prevention has been provided
by an integrated behavioral modification approach called “Abstinence,
“Be faithful” and “Use Condoms,” or “ABC” in Uganda.
An infection rate of 18.5 percent, was afflicting Uganda in 1995
when it started to address HIV/AIDS by emphasizing abstinence. The rate declined to 6.1 percent by 2000.
Compared to other nations where condom programs predominated,
such a reduction in the rate of infection has not been observed.
Furthermore, in an article by Arthur Allan in the New Republic
entitled “Sex Change: Uganda vs. Condoms,” the author wrote “Condoms
had relatively little to do with it.” The Bush administration has indicated that
it supports the approach of ABC to combat the spread of AIDS based on
behavioral change. However,
in order to be politically correct, the Bush administration also seems
to endorse condom use as another effective method for preventing HIV.
Tragically, local culture
and tradition are not accounted for or respected by the language of
H.R. 1298. To receive funding
for abstinence programs these countries would be forced to accept condom
promotion, which is contrary to the belief of people living in these
regions who are Christians and Muslims.
For example, in an all boys school in Nairobi, only one family
out of 600 families that the school serves wanted their children to
be taught that condoms protect against HIV/AIDS.
Conservatives in the
House have falsely convinced themselves that they have taken a moral
stand through the bill and have won a great victory in the battle of
promoting morality by allowing a third of the money provided by this
measure to promote sexual abstinence.
However, abstinence has not been given a priority by this legislation
and every time abstinence is mentioned condoms are also mentioned as
being just as effective.
Within minutes of passage
of H.R. 1298, the White House released a statement applauding what President
Bush called “historic legislation.”
The scientific literature is rich with studies that indicate
that the global AIDS epidemic presents a grave and great threat to developing
nations. However, H.R. 1298 does not provide adequately
enough real solutions to address this divesting disease. Sadly, conservatives, lawmakers and the President
convey a message that they are not whole-heartedly committed to promoting
pro-family values by supporting and touting H.R. 1298. Both nationally as well as globally, children
and adults need to be told the absolute truth that abstinence is the
only true protection against sexually transmitted disease such as AIDS
as well as the basis for a morally and healthy life-style. “Morality is an all or none principle,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski,
president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy. “Abstinence and fidelity are the only way to
defeat the AIDS crisis in these countries.
It is morally and ethically wrong for federal funds to be used
to tell the people of these nations to use condoms.”
Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
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