In a statement
released to mark World AIDS Day, European leaders tacitly
urged African governments to reject abstinence-only HIV
prevention efforts being pushed by the Bush
administration, the U.K. paper The Guardian
reports. "We are profoundly concerned about the
resurgence of partial or incomplete messages on HIV
prevention which are not grounded in evidence and have
limited effectiveness," the statement says.
statement does not specifically name the Bush administration
as the proponent of global abstinence efforts, many European
leaders have publicly expressed concern that the
United States requires much of its global AIDS funding
to go to abstinence programs. They say some
cash-strapped African nations, like Uganda, are so desperate
for any AIDS grants that they are willing to downplay
safer-sex initiatives or even curtail condom
distribution programs in order to get U.S. funds.
from the 22-member European Union calls on governments of
every developing nation to use a full array of HIV
prevention methods, including those opposed by the
U.S. government, to help reduce rising HIV infection
rates. This includes condom distribution efforts as well as
needle-exchange programs for injection-drug users, which the
Bush administration also opposes. "We, the European
Union, firmly believe that, to be successful, HIV
prevention must utilize all approaches known to be
effective, not implementing one or a few selective actions
in isolation," the statement says.
AIDS activists in
the United Kingdom praised the E.U. World AIDS Day
statement. "Abstinence-only is an unrealistic policy
in many communities, and a one-size-fits-all approach
simply won't work," Fiona Pettit of the U.K.
Consortium on AIDS and International Development told The
Guardian. Andrew George, a spokesman for the U.K.
Liberal Democrats political party added, "In reality,
people have sex... much as conservative evangelists in
the U.S. might prefer that they didn't," reports
The Guardian. (Advocate.com)