The new report released December 1 st, by the Center for Public Integrity finds that President Bush's $15 billion dollar initiative to combat HIV abroad is failing.
The report is titled "Divine Intervention" because the Center found that the initiative's faith-based ideology - including promotion of abstinence - often trumps science.
The report is the finding of a year long investigation by reporters in eight countries, that examined the policies and goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The report states that the programs did not take into consideration realities of life in these nations such as; marriage at very young ages for females, the high rate of sexual violence against women, the severely limited educational and economic opportunities for women, and the fact that sex work is the only option for many women. Emphasis on abstinence as prevention, rather than condoms as protection, is not realistic. The programs even desparaged the use of condoms vs abstinence to the point of pointing out condom failure rate and NOT including the importance of condoms in educational materials.
Well folks, it looks like another "Just say No program". Yeah, that works.
The report states,
"PEPFAR is failing to stop the global spread of AIDS and failing to help lead the world to stop this deadly disease. Instead of empowering people we are restricting them. We have a flawed framework with flawed policies."
The U.S. agency implementing and managing PEPFAR is USAID.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.
USAIDS HIV Prevention Program
"USAID seeks to work with communities to support a balanced and evidence-based “ABC” –Abstinence, Be faithful, and correct and consistent Condom use – approach to prevention. This involves the culturally and age-appropriate promotion of each of these elements in a manner that will prevent the most new HIV infections in a given setting and that will fundamentally ensure and protect the ability of girls and women to adopt such HIV prevention behaviors."
The A B C approach emphasized in that order, may work for some places on earth and are important goals but, what PEPFAR and USAIDS somehow miss is that these young girls and women often have no power over A and B. Before they can even think about A or B they need protection against rape, forced prostitution, and economical opportunities other than sex work. None of these are addressed in any realistic way by PEPFAR. The report shows that in many of the countries, the HIV infection rate has actually increased under PEPFAR.
We are paying for this ridiculous program being offered as our emergency plan for AIDS relief. And we will pay with more than money.
Oh, by the way, USAID is located 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
in the Ronald Reagan Building. Figures.