Thursday, June 24, 2004

AIDS policy: Bush on condoms

Bush gave an AIDS policy speech yesterday ...

The New York Times headlined the story ... Bush Backs Condom Use to Prevent Spread of AIDS (... and as Wonkette put it, White House Grasp of the Obvious Like, Totally Complete)

Now to get serious for a moment ... the Times story has some good factoids (and we do love factoids).
Mr. Bush has mentioned condom use at least once before, last July, in Entebbe, Uganda. But mentioning it in a domestic context is quite different.

"I can't believe the president actually used the C-word," said Amy Coen, the president of Population Action International, which has long backed birth control and AIDS prevention in underdeveloped countries. "That's not one that comes easily to him. But it's one thing to use the word and another thing to actually fund it."

A study by the group in 2002 showed that underdeveloped countries need 10 billion condoms a year and were getting only 2.5 billion.

In fact, although neither the Bush nor the Clinton administration advertised it, the United States has long been the world's largest supplier of condoms to such countries.

In 1990, through the Agency for International Development, it donated 800 million condoms to poor countries. That dropped to a low of 186 million in 1999, in the Clinton administration, then rose to 458 million last year and is on track to reach 550 million this year, said Dr. E. Anne Peterson, the agency's assistant administrator for global health.

"We've more than doubled condom availability during this administration, primarily for H.I.V.-AIDS," Dr. Peterson said. "Before, it was a mix of family planning and AIDS, but the big increase is for AIDS prevention."
The full-text of Bush's speech can be found here. The pertinent graf (and only metnion of "condom")...
The second part of a domestic strategy to fight AIDS is prevention. I think it's really important for us to focus on prevention. We can learn from the experiences of other countries when it comes to a good program to prevent the spread of AIDS, like the nation of Uganda. They've started what they call the A-B-C approach to prevention of this deadly disease. That stands for: Abstain, be faithful in marriage, and, when appropriate, use condoms. That's what A-B-C stands for. And it's working. I like to call it a practical, balanced and moral message. I say it's working because Uganda has cut its AIDS infection rate to 5 percent over 10 years. Prevention works. (Applause.)