To the Editor,
I’m responding to your June 15, 2007, article entitled, “President Bush’s Plans for Africa.” As a youth activist with Advocates for Youth, I was concerned that not enough attention was given to some of the details of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The article focused on the comprehensive “ABC” model for prevention: Abstinence, Be Faithful, and use Condoms. However, in practice, PEPFAR places unequal emphasis on the various parts of the ABC strategy.
President Bush has undermined the success of ABC by requiring that all HIV prevention programming for youth be “A” (abstinence-until-marriage) or “B” (if they are married). But since more than 11 million unmarried young people in PEPFAR’s focus countries are sexually active, they need more than “just say no” education on sex. Global AIDS funding must embrace a realistc, comprehensive approach that includes information about abstinence and condoms, because condoms can help prevent sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
I urge you to pay attention to the fine print, especially when if affects som any lives. Youth around the world deserve information on their sexual health, and that information should not be limited by the moral views of Washington politicians. Our government must pay attention to the science behind sexual and reproductive health. Remember, it’s as easy as “ABC”.
I don’t ever remember that phrase saying, it’s as easy as “A” or as easy as “AB”.
(Your Contact Information)
Co-written by Deidre Young and Beth Pellettieri. Printed with permission from Advocates for Youth