House GOP Opposes AIDS Program Changes

By JIM ABRAMS Associated Press

The Lantos bill would eliminate a provision in the 2003 bill requiring that one-third of all prevention spending go to abstinence programs. That amounts to about 7 percent of all spending. Critics say that while they don’t oppose abstinence programs, inflexible funding requirements are counterproductive.

It also would remove a provision stating that all groups receiving money under the program must sign a pledge confirming that they do not support the legalization of prostitution or sex trafficking. The groups still may provide condoms or condom information to prostitutes. The provision, said its author, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., was designed to “ensure that pimps and brothel owners don’t become U.S. government partners.”

Democrats said studies have shown that some groups will not or cannot make the pledge because of concerns it will alienate women they are trying to reach. Other groups say legalized and controlled prostitution could help slow the spread of HIV infection.

Read the full article here.

The article also appears in: San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Seattle and the UK

If you are in or near any of those cities, please send a letter to the editor:

UK: letters@guardian.co.uk

SF: letters@sfchronicle.com

San Luis Obispo: letters@thetribunenews.com

Seattle: opinion@seattletimes.com

Please also keep an eye out for this story in your local papers and be prepared to send a letter to the editor (sample below)

Also, no matter where you are, please go to the stories above and comment at the websites if they allow comments.

Thanks!

Stacey

Sample LTE: Use this as a guide, but don’t copy it, it’s more effective to say it in your own words. Keep it brief and focus on one key point. Most publications will require that you provide a phone number and mailing address for reference only, they will not publish it. It’s also helpful to include your organization/affiliation.

Editor, 

Regarding Jim Abrams’ Feb. 8 article: House GOP Opposes AIDS Program Changes

Kudos to Representative Lantos for pushing for reform in PEPFAR policies, including the anti-prostitution oath. This policy dangerously conflates prostitution with trafficking and leaves women globally without health and support services that could help them avoid both HIV and forced-prostitution. It is time for the US to respond to these issues with practical solutions that get resources to those who need them- not with moralistic hysteria. 

Sincerely,

Stacey Swimme 

Co-Founder

Desiree Alliance

http://www.DesireeAlliance.org

2756 N. Green Valley Parkway Box 104
Henderson, NV 89014-2120

866-525-7967 X 702

5 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this Stacey!

  2. Anytime Sugar ;-)

  3. I was really sorry to read of Tom Lantos’s death (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/washington/12lantos.html). His efforts to drop the “loyalty oath” from the re-authorised PEPFAR fund were greatly appreciated by those of us working with sex worker groups on HIV prevention in developing countries. I’m sure many Bound, Not Gagged readers are all too familiar with the time and energy wasted in finding ways to get around restrictions which serve no useful purpose outside the confines of Karl Rove’s imagination, and which are actively damaging to millions of women, their families and clients.

    I hope that someone else will carry the banner of common sense forward in his memory.

  4. [...] GOP opposes AIDS program change [...]

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