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Democrat says CDC
plays politics with HIV prevention information

Democrat says CDC
plays politics with HIV prevention information

Waxman suggests CDC fails to promote condom instruction programs due to political pressure

Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, has written to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as to why HIV prevention guidelines issued by the agency haven't been updated since 1999 despite studies showing some key interventions are effective in lowering transmission rates, the Associated Press reports. Waxman says he believes politics might be a factor in the delay, particularly because some of the proven HIV prevention programs are in conflict with the Bush administration's ongoing push for abstinence-only education programs to fight the disease.

The CDC guidelines, summarized in a publication called "Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions With Evidence of Effectiveness," summarize 24 highly effective HIV prevention methods that the CDC funds with federal money. The guidelines are nearly seven years old. though, and do not include many safer-sex initiatives that also have been proven to lower HIV rates, Waxman wrote to CDC chief Julie Gerberding. "It is perhaps not coincidental that the new prevention programs include interventions that some political constituencies oppose, such as condom instruction for high-risk populations," Waxman noted.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner says the agency is reviewing Waxman's letter and will respond to the congressman's concerns. (The Advocate)

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