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Thread: Condoms trump abstinence in Obama Admin global AIDS policy

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Condoms trump abstinence in Obama Admin global AIDS policy

    Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama will reverse U.S. family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies that have long linked global funding to anti-abortion and abstinence education, a public-health adviser said.

    Public-health policies of President George W. Bush's $45- billion PEPFAR program have brought AIDS drugs to almost 3 million people in poor countries such as Rwanda and Uganda, more than under any other president. Still, requirements that health workers emphasize abstinence from sex and monogamy over condom use have set back sexually transmitted disease prevention and family planning globally, said Susan F. Wood, co-chairman of Obama's advisory committee for women's health.

    ``We have been going in the wrong direction and we need to turn it around and be promoting prevention and family-planning services and strengthening public health,'' said Wood, a research professor at George Washington University School of Public Health in Washington.

    Bush on his first day in office, in January 2001, reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy -- known to critics as the global gag rule. It bars U.S. family-planning assistance for organizations that use funding from any other source to provide counseling and referral for abortion, lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country, or perform abortions except in cases of a threat to the woman's life, rape or incest.

    Obama ``is committed to looking at all this and changing the policies so that family-planning services -- both in the U.S. and the developing world -- reflect what works, what helps prevent unintended pregnancy, reduce maternal and infant mortality, prevent the spread of disease,'' Wood said.

    Gag Rule

    Wood resigned as the top U.S. regulator for women's health in 2005 in protest of the Food and Drug Administration's delay in clearing over-the-counter sales of the ``morning after'' emergency contraceptive. Sale of the pill, called Plan B, without a prescription was held up for more than two years, after FDA staff recommended its approval in 2003.

    Critics of the FDA have named Wood as among candidates they would like Obama to consider for the agency's next commissioner.

    ``A lot of the family-planning associations in Africa refused the terms of the gag rule and they lost funding, they lost technical assistance and they lost contraceptives,'' said Wendy Turnbull, a senior policy research analyst with Population Action International in Washington.

    On the basis of that policy, Bush halted support for the United Nations Population Fund in 2002, saying it supported ``coercive'' abortion programs in China -- an allegation the New York-based agency has denied. The directive cost the fund more than $200 million in lost funding, said William Ryan, a Bangkok- based spokesman for the agency.

    Condom Use

    Restrictions on education about condom use have hamstrung effective promotion, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had some condom information pulled from its Web Site, said Gill Greer, director general of the International Planned Pregnancy Federation in London.

    ``The U.S. administration has certainly succeeded in demonizing condoms rather than showing that they can be part of prevention of both unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections,'' she said in a telephone interview. ``I've always joked that the whole world should vote in the U.S. election because the whole world is so affected.''

    Under President Bush, the U.S. has provided more money to fight AIDS than during any other administration. Seven years ago, before the Bush program began with about $15 billion, only about 200,000 people in poor nations got treatment, and few of them were in Africa.

    Abstinence Success

    The emphasis on abstinence and fidelity ``has been shown to have demonstrable success in Africa,'' said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association in Washington. ``It would be more than unfortunate if that policy was changed.''

    Both Republicans and Democrats have indicated support for the focus on abstinence and education that goes along with PEPFAR, which has also been shown to reduce the spread of HIV in countries such as Uganda, Huber said.

    ``If the president-elect wants to be science-based in foreign sex-education policies, it would be wisest to continue this way because it's shown to be effective,'' she said.

    Calls to the office of Mark Dybul, coordinator for the Bush AIDS treatment program, weren't returned.

    Prevention Quest

    The decision to focus on abstinence was ``na´ve and dangerous,'' and neglected prevention techniques with the most science behind them, said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the New York-based AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition.

    ``Everyone pretty much expects we'll see a return to a true science-based response to HIV under Obama,'' he said in a telephone interview. ``We've seen eight years of a focus on things we know don't work.''

    Without a vaccine, AIDS advocates are looking for ways to slow the spread of the HIV virus that currently infects about 33 million people worldwide. Treatment, even with cheaper versions of HIV drugs, is beyond the means of many patients in Africa, where about 24 million infected people live.

    The U.S. has played an important role in bringing life- saving treatment to HIV patients who had been unable to get it, said Adel Mahmoud, a former head of Merck & Co. vaccines and professor in the department of molecular biology at Princeton University.

    ``But when the data says for every person we put on anti- retroviral therapy in Africa there are six new infections and we are doing nothing about it, it's absolutely mind-boggling,'' he said in a telephone interview. ``Prevention is really the solution.''

    U.S. Influence

    Wood said that, in recent years, the U.S. government has influenced and ``tightly vetted'' international organizations to reflect its own policies.

    Obama will bring ``back a sense of balance and perspective and the use of good science and good medicine in these positions, and not just this narrow, political ideology,'' she said.

    Bloomberg.com: Politics
    Jesus, he's taking every stupid Bush project and turning it back to sanity and logic.

    Yes, it appears he can after all.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Sanity arrives!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I know.. it's so sudden and logical that it seems.. weird, after 8 years of retardation
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I know.. it's so sudden and logical that it seems.. weird, after 8 years of retardation
    If it's weird for you, imagine how we feel!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    the cold hard logic is refreshing!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
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    white, black, puerto rican/everybody just a freakin'/good times were rollin'.


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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i've yet to meet one reasonable, rational person who supports abstinence-only sex education. they're all religious nuts trying to force their beliefs on the world.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    demonizing condoms

    Hahaha. Palin is all for that! Abstinence is the only way!

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    Good, it's about time people got decent sex ed.
    I watch the Sunday Night Sex Show and Talk Sex (both with Sue Johansson...I love her) and am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge. The sad thing is that these are adults that are asking these basic questions, for example one person called in asking "Can I get pregnant from swallowing sperm?" It's kind of scary when you think about how little about basic human function these people know.

    I'm only 19 and I feel I know more than some of these middle aged adults....and it's through research not practice.....seriously

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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    Ohhh the fundies are going to have a field day with this. This is "proof" that we're headed for hell.. all 65 million of us Obama lovers.

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stylejunkiex View Post
    Ohhh the fundies are going to have a field day with this. This is "proof" that we're headed for hell.. all 65 million of us Obama lovers.
    OH NOES!!! CONDOMS ARE SATAN'S RUBBERY FINGERS BECKONING YOU TO DEFY GAWDDDDDD.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I know.. it's so sudden and logical that it seems.. weird, after 8 years of retardation

    I think Bill Maher was right, wtf will we have to snark about with a logical, intelligent administration?

    Hold me, I'm scurred.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic4098_9.gif Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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    Gold Member mamaste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stylejunkiex View Post
    Ohhh the fundies are going to have a field day with this. This is "proof" that we're headed for hell.. all 65 million of us Obama lovers.
    Woo hoo! Party time! I'll tend bar.

    Obama is impressing me so much. He comes right out of the gate working and making positive changes.

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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L1049 View Post
    OH NOES!!! CONDOMS ARE SATAN'S RUBBERY FINGERS BECKONING YOU TO DEFY GAWDDDDDD.
    can 'the pill' be considered Satan's Eucharist then?

  15. #15
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L1049 View Post
    OH NOES!!! CONDOMS ARE SATAN'S RUBBERY FINGERS BECKONING YOU TO DEFY GAWDDDDDD.
    This is my new MSN messenger name when i get home LOLZ
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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