HPV Language In AIDS Bill Could Discourage Condom Use

The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) issued a report earlier this month accusing the Bush Administration of distorting data on the link between condoms and HPV to try to promote its abstinence-only agenda and to discourage condom use. The AGI report states that the provision of the AIDS funding bill requiring a study of the impact of condom use for HPV, which is linked to cervical cancer, could “undermine global confidence in condoms {and} places men and women at tremendous risk of contracting a number of diseases, and does not address the problem at hand – a lack of access to cervical cancer screening among the world’s poorest women.”

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website currently states that while sexual abstinence is the “most effective strategy to prevent HPV prevention,” condoms “can reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk for transmission [of HPV] to uninfected partners.” However, in another move to promote the current Administration’s abstinence-only agenda, two Republicans, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and former Rep. Tom Coburn (R-OK), have written letters to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding an investigation into the government’s handling of a law aimed at educating the public about human papillomavirus (HPV).

According to AGI, “the experience of the United States and other developed countries suggests that the law’s focus on HPV prevalence is misplaced, and will serve only to undermine confidence in condoms without doing anything to bring poor women the services they need to combat cervical cancer.”

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Washington Times 8/25/03; Atlanta Journal-Constitution 8/22/03; Kaiser Network 8/25/03; Reuters 8/8/2003; Alan Guttmacher Institute; CDC Website at www.cdc.gov

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