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SOTU: Bush’s AIDS Policy Is ‘Basically Unworkable’

Bush said: “We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa — and because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in 3 short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.”

FACT — BUSH POLICY HAS LED TO SHORTAGE OF CONDOMS: The U.N. and a number of advocacy groups for AIDS patients have charged that the Bush administration policy had led to a shortage of condoms in Uganda, increasing the risk of infection for many people, particularly married women and adolescents.” Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity in Washington, D.C., said that “there has been a dangerous and profound shift in U.S. donor policy from comprehensive prevention, education and provision of condoms to focus on abstinence only.” [New York Times, 8/30/05]

FACT — GAO REPORT CRITICIZED IMPLEMENTATION OF BUSH AIDS PLAN: An 87-page GAO report criticized the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) because a large part of the funding is going “to promote abstinence and fidelity is causing confusion in many countries and in a few is eroding other prevention efforts, including ones to reduce mother-to-child transmission of the virus.” The abstinence policy “is basically unworkable,” said Paul Zeitz, director of the Global AIDS Alliance. “This shows the problem very clearly and starkly.” [Washington Post, 4/4/06]

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