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U.S. President George Bush ignores HIV prevention methods that work!

By Bradford McIntyre

May 27, 2006 - Who is informing the president on HIV and AIDS? Failure of the American president to recognize the need to promote condoms has not only undermined over two decades of HIV prevention methods that work but also, the president?s government policies on HIV/AIDS prevention are endangering lives!

President Bush is not in touch with what works and what doesn’t. He fails to understand the importance of promoting condom use to prevent HIV infections from occurring. Condoms have been used successfully to prevent HIV infections from the time, when HIV was first known to be a sexually transmitted disease!

Due to his faith-based beliefs, President Bush has completely disregarded the successes of HIV/AIDS programs that promote condom use. Preventative information, the need to use a condom, instruction on how to use a condom and providing condoms, should be forefront in HIV preventative efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. This president has undermined the importance of condom usage and instead, promotes fidelity and abstinence as top priorities.

Fidelity and abstinence are known to be of little effect in reducing HIV infection! Many people have been infected with HIV while believing that they were in a monogamous (faithful) relationship. However, their partner was not faithful! Abstinence is a choice but with that comes the need to recognize the importance of using a condom once the person chooses to become active sexually. Individuals who choose abstinence are often infected with HIV because they do not use a condom when they begin a sexual relationship.

We know that in the twenty-five years since the emergence of HIV, there have been nearly 30 million deaths and currently, over 40 million people are infected with human immune deficiency virus (HIV). The President of the United States and others must realize the important role of condoms in prevention of disease. Consider these points:

HIV does not discriminate and infects people of every age, sex, race, culture, faith and sexual orientation.

Condoms save lives.

Condoms can and do prevent HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Promoting condoms does not promote sexual activity.

Individuals who engage in sex without a condom are at risk of being infected with HIV or multiple HIV exposures, putting themselves and others at risk of HIV infection. When HIV infection occurs, an individual is at risk of being resistant to all the HIV/AIDS drugs that the person who infected them was using.

The number of people infected with HIV who do not get tested is likely in the millions. There are individuals who know they have been infected with HIV but who have opted out of getting tested.

There is no doubt this situation is going to have an enormous effect on all our lives. When will our eyes be opened to what is going on all around us?

Unfortunately, with the spread of HIV, there are now what is referred to as Bug Chasers and Gifters. Bug chasers are individuals who are looking (seeking out) to be infected with HIV. Gifters are those who would purposely give (infect) HIV to an HIV negative individual.

There are heterosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, lesbians and homosexuals who are engaging in sex without a condom. Oral and anal sex is on the rise! HIV infection occurs in all of these groups.

HIV infections occur through sex workers (prostitution).

HIV Infections occur through the sharing of needles (IV drug users).

Individuals assume from HIV/AIDS media reports that unless they live in places like Africa, China, Russia, India and others where HIV infections are climbing, that they are unlikely to be infected with HIV. Wrong! HIV infection occurs within and outside of high-risk groups. People who believed themselves NOT in a high-risk group are being infected! The spread of HIV has broadened its reaches to encompass much of the world. Many people fail to see that it is a very real threat in their own communities, regardless of the location.

Everyone should be informed of these matters.

President Bush has policies, which do not support, denies or withdraws its funding to NGOs, HIV/AIDS organizations and others who promote condom use as a first line of defense for HIV prevention and this is frightening! Equally scary is President Bush’s misguided HIV prevention policies. These policies restrict U.S. funding to U.S. and global NGOs and HIV/AIDS organizations, which provide services for sex workers and IV drug users. These policies have frustrated and angered the rest of the world!

In twenty-five years, we have three generations (mothers, daughters and their children) infected with HIV! Lack of prevention in the spread of HIV means many more generations will be burdened with HIV infections and AIDS deaths!

Misguided or ill informed, U.S. President George Bush has not put in place evidenced based HIV/AIDS prevention policies. This administration’s present HIV prevention policies do not address the needs of Americans (1 million Americans are infected with HIV) or those in any other part of the world.

Bradford McIntyre,
HIV+ since 1984
www.PositivelyPositive.ca
Vancouver, Canada

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