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Senate committee
will question official’s push for abstinence

Senate committee
will question official’s push for abstinence

Tobias's support of abstinence and opposition to generic anti-HIV drugs will be questioned.

A Senate panel holding hearings this week on the nomination of Randall Tobias, head of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, to become the new director of all U.S. foreign aid is expected to question Tobias on his push for overseas abstinence programs to slow the spread of HIV, CQ Today reports. Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are expected to question Tobias on whether abstinence is an effective HIV prevention tool in developing countries that have different cultural practices than the United States and other Western nations and whether U.S. money earmarked for abstinence education is being spent wisely.

Tobias, the former CEO of drugmaker Eli Lilly, also is expected to be questioned on his opposition to using generic anti-HIV drugs to fight HIV in poor nations. AIDS advocates say that requiring U.S.-funded HIV treatment programs to use expensive brand-name drugs severely restricts the amount of medications that can be bought and distributed.

Tobias was nominated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January to head the U.S. Agency for International Development and to be the first director of foreign assistance at the State Department, a move that would make Tobias a deputy secretary of state. He is expected to be approved by the full Senate later this month. (

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