Dissent Of The Day

A reader writes:

You overlooked an important element in Bush's plan for funding AIDS services organizations. I think your statement that Bush made a "genuine attempt to figure out what worked in Africa and went with it," is misleading. Bush's AIDS policy was in many cases ruled by a commitment to something called the Anti-Prostitution Pledge, which denied services to all AIDS organizations that worked with or on behalf of sex workers in Africa and the rest of the world.

This moralistic approach is impractical when it comes to AIDS treatment and prevention.

Since 2003, it has caused hundreds of invaluable HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention organizations the world over to cut services or shut down completely. Brazil alone lost $40 million dollars in funding because it refused to sign the Pledge.

Bush put conservative politics first and poor people at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS second. He left those who work in the sex industry out of the mix completely, thereby giving the HIV infection opportunity to spread because of lack of education and services for those who need it most.

To quote Penny Saunders of the Network of Sex Work Projects, "The 'anti-prostitution pledge' makes it difficult or impossible to provide services or assistance to the people who are most at risk of HIV/AIDS." This is not a genuine approach but rather one that is blind-sighted by a far-from-admirable political agenda.