World AIDS Day: A PEPFAR for the United States, without The Pledge?

I was chosen as the first caller today on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Pledge —

“On World AIDS Day, researcher Robert Gallo salutes President Bush’s successful efforts to fight the disease overseas. But with infections on the rise in America’s inner cities, Gallo argues that similar strategies must be employed in the U.S.”

Gallo had an editorial in the Washington Post calling for PEPFAR to be reproduced in the US, with a focus on “inner cities.” Gallo was part of the research team that claims to have discovered the HIV virus created the HIV blood test. I called in to raise the concern that ideological funding restrictions, like the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, could remain if we were to expand PEPFAR into the US. I stated the need for evidence-based programs that do not discriminate, and got to respond back to Gallo when he questioned how grassroots our efforts are around the world. There’s nothing like saying, “200 of us gathered at the International AIDS Conference to call for an end to the Pledge. We’re working in Cambodia, in India, in Mexico. We’re working together.”

The show archive should be posted online later today. (I was actually totally nervous — blame my having learned any sense of how to speak in public from having listened to a lot of NPR as a kid, pressure! — so bear with my shaky voice.)

US sex workers will be rallying in DC on Dec 17th, and calling for an end to The Pledge and discrimination against sex workers. Join us.

4 Responses

  1. You did an excellent of presenting your case. Too bad Gallo kept trying to change the subject.

  2. I regret not directly challenging him to address the failings of PEPFAR, in attaching ideology to funding. He did admit he had never heard of the anti-prostitution loyalty oath.

    His attitude reminded me of dealing w/ *some* (certainly not all) researchers at the International AIDS Conference, who were institutionally and in some cases personally detached from any sense of who HIV affects.

  3. Awesome job Melissa.

    XX

  4. […] World AIDS Day: A PEPFAR for the United States, without The Pledge? « Bound, Not Gagged "I called in to raise the concern that ideological funding restrictions, like the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, could remain if we were to expand PEPFAR into the US. I stated the need for evidence-based programs that do not discriminate, and got to respond back to Gallo when he questioned how grassroots our efforts are around the world. There’s nothing like saying, '200 of us gathered at the International AIDS Conference to call for an end to the Pledge. We’re working in Cambodia, in India, in Mexico. We’re working together.'" (tags: aids hiv sexwork prostitution pepfar law policy) […]

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