Spending billions for medicine, nurses and doctors makes sense and should be fully supported and globally, the PEPFAR program is great. Where Congress needs to draw the line is Bush’s continuing funding for abstinence programs. HIV rates in Africa are in excess of 24 million people, with some countries in Southern Africa experiencing rates of 20%-30% of the population. Education is obviously important and stressing safe sex is critical but much of the funds for education are for funding the favorite abstinence programs of the US religious right.
The issue today is finding enough medicine to address those in need as well as finding doctors and nurses who can tend to the needs of very sick people. Shortages of medical care workers in these heavily impacted countries are all too common, the end result being overwhelmed staff and people dying unnecessarily. The initial results of the abstinence programs have shown no results whatsoever, with even Uganda (the original case study) showing a resurgence in HIV.
Congress really needs to stand up to Bush and his failing religious experiments that are taking money away from saving people. Let the religious right fund their theories on their own dollar but let’s put American tax dollars to work helping people with science, medicine and medical staff.