PACHA calls on White House to back "ABC" HIV prevention model
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS unanimously backed a resolution calling for President Bush to adopt the "ABC--abstinence, be faithful, use condoms" HIV prevention method in the United States, the Washington Blade reports. The group, at its March 29-30 meeting in Washington, D.C., supported the HIV prevention model that has been used successfully in Uganda to lower the nation's HIV prevalence rate 66% between 1991 and 2001. The HIV prevention model stresses abstinence for those who are not married, monogamy among those who are married or in committed relationships, and condom use as a fallback option for those in non-monogamous relationships who choose to have sex. The resolution approved by PACHA says Bush and the Department of Health and Human Services should "exercise bold leadership in raising domestic HIV prevention awareness as part of the strategy to reduce new HIV infections...with a long-term goal of no new infections."
PACHA members, urged by group cochair Tom Coburn, a conservative former congressman who opposes homosexuality and has questioned the effectiveness of condoms, also voted to table a resolution calling for Bush to immediately appoint a permanent director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Blade reports. The office has been headed by acting director Carol Thompson since former ONAP director Joseph O'Neill was appointed by Bush to the State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in August 2003. Coburn, who was the subject of protests by many AIDS advocates when he was appointed PACHA cochair in January 2002, urged that the measure be tabled because he said the White House is actively searching for a new director. The resolution will be considered at PACHA's July meeting.