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U.S. increases
funding for overseas abstinence programs

U.S. increases
funding for overseas abstinence programs

Some officials say U.S. push for abstinence will hurt safer-sex initiatives

A new set of guidelines from the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator details how federal AIDS funds for the international President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are to be spent next year, and programs that promote abstinence are slated for significant funding increases, The Baltimore Sun reports. According to the document, which was provided to the Sun by an unnamed federal AIDS official who believes the Administration's focus on abstinence hurts overseas HIV prevention efforts, two thirds of U.S. funds earmarked to prevent sexual transmissions of HIV will go to programs promoting abstinence before marriage and monogamy after marriage.

The new regulations will hamper condom distribution programs in poor countries and initiatives that teach at-risk groups about safer sex by reducing funding for them, say concerned AIDS officials. Programs that aim to prevent mother-to-child HIV infections and infections among injection-drug users also could be hurt by the shift in funding, they add.

Mark Dybul, the deputy U.S. global AIDS coordinator, told the Sun that the new guidelines ensure that global AIDS spending meets the legal requirements of PEPFAR, which states that one third of all HIV prevention funding be spent on abstinence programs. Because only one quarter of AIDS spending in 2005 went to abstinence programs, a greater percentage must be spent on abstinence and monogamy programs in 2006 to make up for this year's shortfall, he says. (

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