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Will Congress Do More for HIV Prevention?
Date:3/28/2008

zation recommends that women seeking treatment to prevent maternal-to-child transmission (PMTCT) should have access to voluntary family planning information and commodities should they choose to prevent another pregnancy. Studies have revealed high rates of unintended pregnancy among HIV positive women in PMTCT clinics. In Uganda, for example, 93 percent of women seeking PMTCT services reported they were experiencing an unintended pregnancy. A similar study in South Africa revealed that 84 percent of the pregnancies in three PMTCT programs in South Africa were unintended.

* The US government itself asserts that integrating family planning services could double the effectiveness of programs that prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infants, yet only 11 percent of pregnant women who would benefit from treatment to prevent PMTCT have access to such services. Despite this evidence, and the clear need for information and services, neither the House nor Senate bills support funding for these health care services.

-- Eliminate the prostitution pledge. The 2003 PEPFAR legislation requires groups fighting HIV/AIDS overseas to pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking before receiving U.S. money. Sex workers are among the most marginalized people in every country and often lack access to social and health support systems. Prevention programs that have reached sex workers through first building trust have yielded dramatic reductions in HIV infections among these populations. For example, a 1991 study of 1,000 sex workers in Nairobi found that a prevention program stressing condom use and education was able to prevent between 8,000 and 10,000 new cases of HIV infection per year at a very low cost.

* Congress seems to think that having organizations sign such a pledge will help contribute to ending prostitution, but in reality the opposite may be true. According to numerous reports, the pledge has led to further alienation o
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SOURCE American Jewish World Service
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