In a speech before delegates Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in New York, Kansas senator Sam Brownback lauded President Bush's efforts to fight AIDS worldwide through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, The Wichita [Kan.] Eagle reports. Brownback said Bush has assembled "an army of compassion" to fight AIDS in the developing world and has "committed record levels of support" for domestic AIDS programs. Brownback specifically praised Bush's advocacy for abstinence education and his funding for HIV vaccine research.
Critics say Bush's international AIDS plan has moved too slowly in delivering grant money to poor nations and that the president's proposed flat funding for federal Ryan White AIDS spending in fiscal 2005 will hurt hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive people in the United States through reduced services. They also say abstinence-only education is ineffective in reducing teen sexual activity and actually boosts HIV and other sexually transmitted disease risks by not educating young people about alternative ways to protect themselves against infection.