Global AIDS Coordinator Document Provides Guidelines for Funding That Would Increase Amount Spent on Abstinence, Fidelity
An Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator directive that took effect on Oct. 1 provides guidelines on how federal funding for international HIV/AIDS programs that work to prevent sexual transmission of the virus must be used and would increase the amount of U.S. funding countries spend on programs that promote abstinence and fidelity, the Baltimore Sun reports. The document was provided to the Sun by an unnamed federal AIDS official who thought that U.S. international HIV prevention efforts would be hindered by the new policy. According to the document, which outlines how fiscal year 2006 money should be spent, "66% of resources dedicated to prevention of HIV from sexual transmission must be used for activities that promote abstinence before marriage and fidelity." Under the guidelines, at least half of total prevention funding must be spent on sexual transmission initiatives, with the remainder going toward programs that prevent HIV transmission from mother to child or through the blood supply. Many countries last year spent much more than half of their total prevention budgets on sexual transmission programs, meaning that the policy change will increase funding for abstinence programs while "implicitly set[ting] tighter limits on spending for condoms," according to the Sun. The FY 2005 budget included $295 million for international HIV prevention programs, and that amount likely will be increased in FY 2006, the Sun reports. Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said the decree aims to make HIV programs adhere to legal requirements of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which call for at least one-third of overall prevention funding to be spent on abstinence programs. This year, only one-quarter of funding was spent on such programs, the Sun reports. Dybul said that the directive is a "guidance" and is not inflexible, adding that the decision would correct an inequality. The unnamed official that provided the report said that agency officials are treating the policy change as a rigid order, the Sun reports (Kohn, Baltimore Sun, 12/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.