Bush policy not a joke but a gag

Why do all Bush Administration policies have Orwellian titles like the polluter written Clear Skies Act? Or this one: The AIDS Leadership Act. Of course it doesn't say what direction it is leading AIDS policies. You decide. If you are a non-profit and want government funding for anything, you have to pledge to oppose commercial sex work. Abridgement of your rights of free speech? At least two Federal Courts have said so, but the Bushies are appealing the decisions.

Commercial sex workers (aka prostitutes, a rather imprecise term, as Congress and the Bush Administration are full of prostitutes; they just perform different acts for more money) are a prime target for public health intervention in AIDS programs where promoting condom use is a key element. Condemning those whose lethal behavior you are trying to change is not exactly the best way to encourage safe sex practices, so the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and 26 public health, human rights and HIV/AIDS groups have filed a friend of the court brief in opposition to requiring this pledge:

"The federal government should stop playing politics with critical funding needed to end the global devastation caused by the AIDS pandemic," said Claudia Flores, an attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project and counsel on today's brief. "The global AIDS gag will further stigmatize high-risk populations and put more lives at risk. This policy is completely at odds with efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to treat its victims."

[snip]

"Some of today's fastest growing HIV epidemics are happening among sex workers in developing countries, yet the Bush administration policy would create an even bigger crisis," said Paul Zeitz of the Global AIDS Alliance, one of the groups signed on to today's brief. "As the United States increases its commitment in the global fight against AIDS, we should not push an agenda that would put more lives at risk."

The groups say that this policy is at odds with the United States' own HIV/AIDS policies. The premier federal agencies working to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have found that isolating vulnerable groups like sex workers profoundly affects prevention efforts. Denying all funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to organizations that do not make the pledge is in direct contradiction to this long held public health practice, said the ACLU. (ACLU Press Release)

If you want to read the brief you can find it here. The election may be over, but there remains much work to do. Work that will save lives.

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F*** Bush.

(Would his policies change if he thought himself at risk?)

anon: He's the "President of the United States," and he talks to "God." Does it get any better than that?

Well Revere, they have to do something I would say. How about not being a whore for a living? Yep I agree its stupid and of course the HIV problem has to be BUSH. Its a simple matter of ideologies. Clinton would have wanted to just go ahead and provide for the sex industry...something he knows something about. Of course, someone who isnt in the industry has to pay for it and maintain that idiot that was dumb enough to do it. Then someone will say it was REAGAN that let HIV get out. Not the people who were spreading it (literally) in the gay bath houses. But someone else has to pay for it. If we keep God out of it then its a matter of a taking in the legal system. You cant be deprived of property without due process. So I get to pay for a whore to have sex with probably a tag team Republican and Democrat while some Independent finishes them off. Hmm. Yeah you are right but if the moral decay of this country doesnt stop and I aint talking about the religious version of that then we are screwed. The ACLU be damned and the two courts you speak of I think one of them is the ultra liberal 9th District. Dont hold your breath on this one. The pledge is bullshit of course. But lets start somewhere and I have to say that letting someone die from HIV should be televised on TV at age 13 so they can see what unprotected sex can do and how it demolishes a human. Its not a gay thing, its an everybody thing and there are just people in this country that dont want to pay for someone else's lifestyle. That would be the one of unprotected sex homo, bi, or straight.

Free speech? You cant talk when you are dead and the assertion is that they have rights. Well okay they do but not if they are fooling around in San Fran. Thats like loading an automatic and aiming it at your head. Only a dumbass would jump bones nowadays with someone they werent SURE about. Hey it was great being in the military because we were issued cards saying we were clean. So put the helmet on Mr. Wiggly everyone, buy it yourself though.Its not rocket science. Have a good time.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 16 Nov 2006 #permalink

MRK:"But lets start somewhere and I have to say that letting someone die from HIV should be televised on TV at age 13 so they can see what unprotected sex can do and how it demolishes a human."

While we're at it, let's televise the suicide of the teenaged homosexual (homo, as you delicately put it), and don't forget the grieving parents and friends.

Oh, oh! Here's a good one: televise the disintegration of the HIV patient's family as the medical bills wipe them out. Perhaps the second season will follow the family's quest for a hot meal and shelter as they try to exist without a home.

Televised executions. There's a good one. And car wrecks. I am so on a roll.

A date rape, child abuse, genocide, democracy at work in Iraq....scratch the last two as unfit for TV, and well, just not interesting enough.

MRK, you are a piece of work.

M. Randolph Kruger:

"How about not being a whore for a living?"

Quite unrealistic. The only good strategy is to promote harm reduction in the face of something that is not just going to go away.

"Clinton would have wanted to just go ahead and provide for the sex industry...something he knows something about."

I don't understand what Clinton might have to do with this right now. It looks like this is about current bad policy decisions and the politicians presently at the head of them, not the hypothetical actions of former leaders.

Revere:

I have read somewhere that (at least in developed nations) non-IV drug-using prostitutes who practice safe sex are, as a group, at a similar--or possibly slightly lower--HIV risk as the general public. But those who either use IV drugs, don't practice safe sex, or both, are considered an extremely high risk group. Any knowledge on this?

A coalition of health groups that wrote to Bush last year about this policy has a good explanation of why it's such a bad idea:

"Women and men in prostitution, some of whom have been trafficked, are among the most marginalized persons in any society. The organizations with the most effective anti-AIDS and anti-trafficking strategies build their efforts on a sophisticated understanding of the social and personal dynamics underlying these issues, and start by building trust and credibility among the populations in question. They recognize that it is both possible and often necessary to provide social, legal and health services to men and women in prostitution without judging them, and without adopting positions on issues such as prostitution. They may work to provide persons in prostitution with new skills essential to moving out of the commercial sex sector, to secure the legal rights of men and women in prostitution to be free from violence and discrimination, or to empower them to demand universal condom use, thereby preventing the further spread of HIV infection within and outside this sector. They may also work to prevent people from being trafficked into the sex sector and to assist trafficking victims. Requiring organizations to adopt anti-prostitution policies makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to establish the trust necessary to provide services to these hard-to-reach groups."

PDF here:
http://www.genderhealth.org/pubs/20050518LTR.pdf

And let's not forget the yahoo the Idiot in Chief has put up to be head of the family-planning programs:

"The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."
Keroack, an obstetrician-gynecologist, will advise Secretary Mike Leavitt on matters such as reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy. He will oversee $283 million in annual family-planning grants that, according to HHS, are "designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons."
The Keroack appointment angered many family-planning advocates, who noted that A Woman's Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six centers in eastern Massachusetts.

By G in INdiana (not verified) on 17 Nov 2006 #permalink

You know something Debra, for about 40 years now I have seen a fairly decent country turn to one that is a shambles after every election and one that is polarized against each other diametrically. Vilify this, vilify that. If the left doesnt get what they want then they sue. The right not wanting to have to bail our someone else for their problems, then the left comes back and decides that someone elses lifestyle should be paid for by everyone, like it or not. You think that anyone on the right wants HIV or anything like it in our society?

WE didnt invent HIV, we do though get to pay for the lifestyles of those who are involved in unprotected sex and now lets extend this to Africa and every other country in the world. You know maybe televising the disintegration of an HIV patients family from medical bills might not be such a bad idea. Then maybe parents will pay more attention to what their children are doing because they are the ones that are getting it predominantly now or so I understand. A kid who is homosexual suicide? You act as if this were a ratings war on a TV. Not hardly. It is though about the constant diatribe that if its Bush its wrong, if its Republican its wrong, if its America its wrong. Demanding accountability is what I am about.

Someone goes out and gets HIV from unprotected sex then, well golllee gee the government should be responsible for ME and MY actions. They should be forced to take care of me. I have the RIGHT to healthcare. Not currently in the constitution. Nor should anyone else have to pay for it. I feel terrible about the realities of this disease. Good friends have gone from it and I am no homophobe. But having HIV doesnt give someone the right to take anothers rights or property. You make assumptions that someone else is responsible for this big problem.

For about 50 cents you can run down to WalGreens and pick up a condom. And for the record they do televise car wrecks, executions, etc. Its just not main stream TV Debra. I fail to see your point in this and maybe for once if you just slip the idea that someone else in the US owes these people anything because of their actions, you might acknowledge that I might be right. You dont get HIV from not fooling around and playing it fast and loose. Your chances of getting it drop tremendously if you are not a hooker. Even my gay friends practice safe sex and everyone out there knows HIV is out there with them. We are supposed to be responsible for what we do. Not someone else.

Developing nations? Why in hell should I have to worry about the HiV status of some third world nation? Because people are dying and getting sick and all of the other social problems that it creates? Sure its a problem but is it mine or the US's. Its a disease that would go away if everyone just did what they know they should. Got to have hosts to transmit it. Its a felony here now to have knowingly have sex with someone if you have an HIV status. If someone dies because you gave it to them in that status then its time for a TV show and eliminate that particular host. Mean? Depends on the definition of mean.

Bird flu is different. It infects indiscriminately and that is a public health problem of immense proportions. Signing a pledge isnt gong to change the status of that. Bush is out on the far end of this one as I said. But someones HIV status is really not a problem that cant be fiixed, by themselves. Safe sex practices are a must, AND stupid pledges arent going to change one damned thing. If everyone who got it feels that they should be taken care of then thats just an opinion. The percentage of innocents who got it such as unsuspecting wives and the like are pretty low and its mostly wives or girlfriends from multipartner males. So I guess I am just supposed to submit my morals and wallet to the government? Bush and company are only slightly off on this one. The intent is good, its stupid though.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 17 Nov 2006 #permalink

Yes, Randolph, BIrd Flu is different because it might get YOU.

As for me--healthcare worker. As long as HIV exists, I'm at risk of getting it, because sick people are the ones who come in for care, and there are lots and lots of pointy objects in hospitals.

By Lisa the GP (not verified) on 17 Nov 2006 #permalink

Lisa if I didnt include you in the short list of people who can get it I am sorry but thats a prescribed risk, you take it because you chose to be a doctor or for other people a nurse. I screw up in my job and it will look like 200lbs of overripe calves liver dropped from an overpass into your windshield.

Both of us have presribed risks that are inherent to the job. But we both do our jobs and likely very well. If I get sucked into a jet intake or hit by a prop then its my fault for not follwoing procedures. You on the other hand have to deal with pointy objects that might cause you harm. Propellers and jet engines dont give you the option here. Thats what its about. Everyone has the OPTION not to have unprotected sex, but they do it anyway. You have the option not to treat HIV positives. I would rather choose not to support them and their lifestyles and there are a heck of a lot of people like me.

Bird flu MIGHT get us all, but we all have been warned now at least 34 recorded times by the government to prepare for a pandemic. I got my helmet on, locked and loaded.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 17 Nov 2006 #permalink

MRK:

You keep asserting that everyone knows about HIV and how to prevent getting infected. That's simply not true. In fact, it's precisely the fact that your assertion is utterly false that is at the heart of what makes this policy a bad one.

Revere wrote above: "Commercial sex workers...are a prime target for public health intervention in AIDS programs where promoting condom use is a key element. Condemning those whose lethal behavior you are trying to change is not exactly the best way to encourage safe sex practices."

That pretty much sums it up. I feel like all the talk about left versus right, who should get money for HIV healthcare, etc., are all senselessly off-topic.

Also, I'm very curious why you think that if the majority of HIV is in third world countries, then it somehow isn't a significant problem for the US. Reduction and hopefully eradication of diseases like HIV are in the interest of everyone. Lisa the GP gave just one example of why.

Edmund - Most of Africa is infected with HIV positives and you either dismiss my point or you dont understand it. Everyone wants a handout. This countries ability to hand out is going to go by the wayside starting in three years and last if the old people dont die for about the next 30. Entitlements will account for every dollar taken in and another 48 to 75 cents in the next 30 beyond that. If you are below the age of 45 then you will pay about 60% of your income in as taxes. Because we are so kid poor in this country right now the ability of the ones that will be here to pay in against those taking benefits is going to be like a 7 to 1 disadvantage. That prescription drug mandate was about 7 trillion dollars in unfunded mandate. Want to add HIV to the next handout?. Keep it up, we will socialize ourselves into a third world status very soon. Even in the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany etc. they all end up paying for services under their systems beyond their taxes, and they WAIT.

Everyone wants something. Everyone wants to live. Well maybe bird flu is just comng in to do a little human virus cleaning because HIV didnt work. Too damned many people and its time for the surivival of the fittest. Each and every time the population has approached the level of the food supply by percentage, we have had a human dieback. HIV is not a visitation of God on the Godless or immoral. Its a disease.EVERYONE in Africa knows that its out there and nearly all know about HIV status.they should because 40% of a continent is big news. You would have to live in the highlands of New Guinea not to know about it. They also know you get it from having unprotected sex. Reveres reference to condemnation of those who have it is not good policy and I agree. But its the old we need to do more, we allowed so many to die. Who in Hell said that the US was responsible for the woes of the world? For that matter there is a mind set that someone who is immoral should be forced to pay via taxes for someone who went out and had unprotected sex and got HIV. The other side of tha coin doesnt think so. It is not a public health problem. It should be rendered to its lowest common denominator and that is people who practice in unsafe sex. They should be responsible for their actions, not others. Hey, to say people are not going to have sex is just behind the pledge above. But neither will stop HIV. Condom use will for the better part and then those that die will eventually put the virus back into the box. But to assert that a pledge will work is as out of touch as it comes.

The ACLU is asserting that sex workers have RIGHTS under our laws to practice illegal acts and that the US should be forced to provide funding for HIV containment in other nations. Forced socialism, paid for by the US and world socialism at that. And this seriously makes sense to some people.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 20 Nov 2006 #permalink