Writing@CSU Home Page | Writing Gallery | Talking Back | Volume 5, Issue 1
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President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief which is where most of the money will go.

    Most of the money for PEPFAR is being used to fund abstinence programs in Africa. These programs promote abstinence as the only way to prevent AIDS instead of condom use. Paula Tavrow, a relief worker and the principal investigator for the UCLA-funded Youth for Youth program in Kenya brings up that many kids are being hurt by abstinence only programs because they are not getting vital information to keep them safe. She writes about her own experience saying, “Where I work, about half of Kenyan youths think birth control pills make you sterile and HIV can pass through condoms. Abstinence education skirts these issues.”

    For people that are married, or are like Prossy, abstinence does not seem to be an option they can choose. Therefore they are left uneducated, vulnerable, and alone in their battle against this disease.

    Stephen Lewis, the UN secretary general's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa said that the Bush administration’s extreme policies are the cause for “new HIV cases and condom shortages in [Kenya], where men are said to be using plastic bags in place of condoms.” It seems more logical and helpful if the programs promote abstinence while teaching people how to have safe sex.

    Another restriction that the Bush administration has put up is a forced pledge saying that the relief workers won’t promote prostitution or child sex trafficking. This pledge adds that workers are not allowed to aid these people in any way. If the workers

don’t agree to sign the pledge, the money they were promised from the government will be taken away and the relief most are forced to shut down. Many experts agree that sex workers are the ones most at risk to contract AIDS. The Bush administration wants to regulate where their money goes because they don’t want it to be said that they are promoting illegal activities, but it still seems unfair to pick and choose who gets protection from a disease. Because of the pledge a nonprofit AIDS education group was forced to end English classes for sex workers. English language skills might have helped some of them escape to safer and more legal work.

    Although sex workers have chosen an illegal profession, many have had no choice and should not be punished for that. Some are like Prossy, where she feels that she might be able to help herself and her family if she chose prostitution. If she does become one though, she will be even more alone than before.

    When asked to sign the pledge, the government of Brazil refused and was denied $40 million in US anti-AIDS funds. Brazil works with sex workers, both by employing them to teach others and by giving them condoms, even though Brazil advocates fidelity strongly. An article in the Houston Chronicle read, “This practical, non-stigmatizing approach has contributed to Brazil's success in slashing AIDS cases by almost half since 1990.” The United States could follow Brazil’s example and help many more people than they are at the moment.

    In Uganda, a program designed to stop girls like Prossy from taking sugar daddies has created problems as well. The government is giving out virginity

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