SOTU: Abstinence Policies Hamper AIDS Efforts

Bush said: “And our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is treating 1.4 million people [in Africa]. We can bring healing and hope to many more. So I ask you to maintain the principles that have changed behavior and made this program a success.”

FACT — BUSH’S AIDS POLICIES DIVERT FUNDS TO FAILED ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS: Bush’s policy states that one-third of money allocated for HIV prevention overseas go to abstinence-only programs. “In fact, a full two-thirds of the money for the prevention of the sexual spread of HIV goes to abstinence.” [American Prospect, 7/10/07FACT — BUSH’S ANTI-CONDOM STANCE ‘DOING DAMAGE TO AFRICA’: The Center for Disease Control states that latex condoms are “highly effective in preventing…sexual transmission of HIV.” Yet Bush’s ABC policy — Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condoms — relegates condom use to a last resort option. In 2005, the UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa said, “There is no doubt in my mind that the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven by [US policies]. To impose a dogma-driven policy that is fundamentally flawed is doing damage to Africa.” [CDC, 10/20/06; The Observer, 7/11/04; The Guardian, 8/30/05]

FACT — GLOBAL GAG RULE FORCES ‘A CRUEL CHOICE’ ON FOREIGN NGOS: Bush’s “global gag rule” withholds U.S. aid from any organization that mentions abortion as an option in family planning. The report found that the “the leading providers of family planning” in 13 developing nations are “no longer receiving USAID contraceptives.” [Memo for the Administration of United States Agency for International Development, 1/22/01; Global Gag Rule Impact Project]