May 4, 2005

Hey Cons, Good Job Furthering the Spread of AIDS

From the Guardian. Under pressure from the religious right, the Bush administration has decided to condition foreign aid for AIDS on promotion of abstinence (as if condoms prevent disease, ha!) and denial of support for abortion providers. In the case of Brazil, the money was conditioned on a public condemnation of prostitution that would effectively limit the health services related to AIDS that could go to sex workers and their clients. Brazil said "NO":
Brazil yesterday became the first country to take a public stand against the Bush administration's massive Aids programme which is seen by many as seeking increasingly to press its anti-abortion, pro-abstinence sexual agenda on poorer countries.

Campaigners applauded Brazil's rejection of $40m for its Aids programmes because it refuses to agree to a declaration condemning prostitution.

The government and many Aids organisations believe such a declaration would be a serious barrier to helping sex workers protect themselves and their clients from infection.

Cons, stop trying to shove your religion down everyone's throats when lives are at stake. You're all a bunch of assholes.

Image courtesy of The United Nations.


  1. Funny how we get rebuttal comments from conservatives when it comes to defending the constitutonality of the Nuclear Option or the character of Republican figures like Tom DeLay, but no comments when a story beings to expose just how twisted and inhumane the actual values of the Right are. Maybe we just need more of those Republican readers who feel the fire of God's will in their hearts and can explain why this sort of policy is the only righteous one.

  2. While I would support funding for African AIDs victims regardless of their behavior and accountability, I think its understandable, just maybe not all that reasonable, for Bush to desire some accountability here.

    This CDC report claims condoms still don't prevent the spread of HIV in 10% of cases, and I've honestly seen reports that U.N.-provided condoms are not all that sound compared to commercial counterparts. So it looks like condoms alone are still not the best solution.

    I think we can agree that the AIDs pandemic in Africa is out of control. Encouraging abstinence and pushing for a decrease in the prevalence of abortion would presumably lead to less sex and transmission of AIDs. The Bush administration is going too far here, but I don't think this is inhumane and twisted. If I recall correctly, we still are one of the larger supporters of the fight against AIDs regardless of these accountability measures.

  3. I believe that any argument that justifies the Bush adminstration's actions here as somehow pragmatic by questioning the efficacy of condoms and can be proven wrong on two grounds:

    1) Studies show that condoms are much more than 90% effective in preventing the transmissions of AIDS and other STDs if those engaging in the sexual activity are properly educated/informed on how to use condoms and use them consistently. One study of Europeans showed condoms, when used consistently, to be 100 % effective in preventing disease transmission.

    2) The policies of abstinence have done anything but work here in the U.S. In fact, while the federal government has been promoting abstinence (at the expense of other prevention techniques, and with the result that in 1988, "2 percent of sex-ed teachers used an abstinence-only approach. Now...a quarter of them do") the prevalence of STDs and teen pregnancies in the U.S. is astronomically high compared to Europe and Canada, where abstinence is not rammed down the gullets of the populace:

    while teenagers in the U.S. have about as much sexual activity as teenagers in Canada or Europe, Americans girls are four times as likely as German girls to become pregnant, almost five times as likely as French girls to have a baby, and more than seven times as likely as Dutch girls to have an abortion. Young Americans are five times as likely to have H.I.V. as young Germans, and teenagers' gonorrhea rate is 70 times higher in the U.S. than in the Netherlands or France.

    Here is the NYT editorial by Nicholas Kristoff with that info.

    I won't dispute that people in the Bush adminstration would like to stop AIDS (though I also think their commitment is not enough). They're just doing it the wrong way, period. They must drop this absolute conditionality of funding on abstinence and they must put more resources towards sex education programs that have been proven to be effective.