At Global AIDS Conference, Congresswoman Barbara Lee Calls Bush Administration’s Focus on Abstinence Out of Touch with Rest of World

Administration Fails to Send its Top AIDS Officials to Conference

Washington, DC – From the XV World AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) today attacked the Bush Administration for its focus on advancing abstinence as the primary component of its policy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Lee, the only Member of Congress at the AIDS Conference, told reporters, “The majority of the delegations here at the Conference are critical of the Bush Administration’s policy. That policy, which is centered on abstinence, is irresponsible, not working, and it is inhumane.”

“We must have every conceivable option at our beck and call to fight this horrible pandemic. Only a comprehensive approach that includes condoms will work because science tells us that condoms provide the best technology that we have to fight AIDS.”

“The Bush Administration continues to put politics before science. Thousands of people are dying every day, yet the Administration’s focus on abstinence seriously undermines the ability of people not just in the United States, but around the world, to be able to negotiate the terms of their own lives.”

“Being here in Bangkok this week, I am reminded that the entire world understands what we already know back in the United States: that this Administration’s policy towards AIDS is backwards. We have isolated ourselves again in this global community. We will restore America’s leadership in global health only when we reject policies driven by ideology instead of science.”