May 27, 2008
U.S. Senator Urges Less PEPFAR Spending
In a Washington Times opinion piece (washingtontimes.com, 5/27), Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina calls on Congress to lessen federal funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs in developing countries.
DeMint says that the bill to increase PEPFAR funding to $50 billion over the next five years wastes resources, adding that the amount is “more than double the $22 billion we spend each year for our veterans. Meanwhile, back home the federal government cannot even pay doctors what they are owed under Medicare. When we think about PEPFAR we must think hard about our priorities.”
DeMint blasts PEPFAR for funding “programs that teach drug addicts how to inject safely, and prostitutes and homosexuals how to have safe sex,” which he calls “morally objectionable to many American taxpayers” and ineffective in preventing the spread of HIV, citing a recent Harvard School of Public Health study.
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