This is the second missive from Congressman Souder's office in the past ten days

Tthis is a crusade against people with HIV/AIDS and those at risk.

-----Original Message-----

From: Foster, Roland, Republican congressional aide lacky
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Subject: Congressmen request Uganda's ABC program be the centerpiece of the XV International AIDS Conference
Importance: High

Congressmen Mark Souder, Joseph Pitts, Todd Akin, Ernest Istook and Jim DeMint today sent the attached letter to the organizer of the International AIDS Conference. The letter recommends that Uganda's ABC program be the "centerpiece" of the upcoming XV International AIDS Conference and requests information regarding the inclusion of faith based groups and abstinence and partner reduction presentations at the conference.

May 4, 2004

Mr. Joep Lange
International AIDS Society
PO Box 22700 - Meibergdreef 9
NL 1100 DE Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Dear Mr. Lange:

The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the custodian of the International AIDS Conferences held every two years. These conferences provide a forum for the interaction of scientists, community representatives and government officials from around the world. We write to you as the President of IAS and the co-chair of the XV International AIDS Conference scheduled for July 11- 16, 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand.

As you know, the United States spends more on global HIV/AIDS than any other nation. This year alone, the U.S. federal government will spend $2.4 billion specifically on global AIDS in addition to the billions we will spend on research and development of treatments, vaccines and prevention from which the whole world will benefit. To date, the U.S. government has spent approximately $150 billion for domestic and international HIV/AIDS programs.

In addition to treatment, research, prevention, and care, these funds support gatherings of scientists and advocates, such as the International AIDS Conference. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development are providing assistance to the XV International AIDS Conference. While we believe that conferences can provide an important venue for researchers to exchange ideas and present scientific data, nevertheless we were displeased
by some elements of the XIV International AIDS Conference held in Barcelona in 2002. We hope the forthcoming conference will make efforts to avoid these shortcomings.

We were very disappointed by the rude reception that prevented Secretary Thompson-- the representative of the largest contributor to the global AIDS fight-- from addressing the conference.
[see report]

We were shocked to learn that a prominent health representative from the Vatican-which cares for one in four people receiving treatment for HIV infection globally-- was not invited to address the conference. Nor did any of the major speeches or lectures address faith's role in the AIDS crisis. And the Associated Press reported that some of the conference's "seminars and workshops often became 'religion-bashing' sessions." As you know, in many parts of the world, particularly Africa, it is often local churches and religious communities who care for orphans and those living with HIV/AIDS. Clearly, faith based groups already and must continue to play an important part in the global response to HIV/AIDS.
[see report]

We were also very disappointed that little attention was paid to one of the few success stories in the battle against HIV/AIDS, which is the dramatic success of Uganda in reducing HIV rates.
[see report]

Beginning in 1986, Uganda implemented the "ABC" prevention model, containing clear, targeted and prioritized messages: (1) be Abstinent; (2) Be faithful; and (3) use Condoms 100 percent of the time if you have relations with an infected partner or as a last resort. Abstinence and being faithful were the centerpieces of this strategy and by 1995 fully 95 percent of Ugandans were reporting "A" or "B" behaviors in the preceding 6 months. There was, likewise, a significant decline in young males and females reporting premarital sex between 1989 and 1995. As a result, the data show that between 1991 and 2001 prevalence of HIV infection in Uganda declined by 66 percent, from 15 to 5 percent.

Uganda, with limited financial resources, accomplished what we in the United States and many other wealthy Western nations have failed to do: Significantly reduce HIV incidence and prevalence over the past decade. We believe Uganda's ABC program should rightfully be the centerpiece of the forthcoming international AIDS conference for this accomplishment so that other nations-especially those with limited resources-can learn from Uganda's success and implement similar prevention programs based on sound scientific data.

We understand that a number of papers about Uganda and the ABC prevention approach submitted by leading experts have already been rejected for the XV International AIDS Conference. According to Dr. E. C. Green of Harvard University, who searched the abstracts of papers presented at the 2002 Global AIDS Conference, "condoms" came up 777 times, compared to sixteen for "faithfulness" or "fidelity" and seventy-four for "abstinence." Many or most of the abstinence abstracts, however, were about abstaining from drug abuse rather than sex and many others just used the word in passing without evidence of any sort of an abstinence intervention. We hope that the XV International AIDS Conference will not repeat this seeming bias against the scientifically proven success of programs that promote abstinence and faithfulness.
[see report]

We would like to know:

(1) What percentage of all speakers scheduled to address the XV International AIDS Conference are from faith based groups and will speak about the role of the faith community in HIV/AIDS efforts? Please provide a list and include plenary speakers.

(2) What percentage of the scientific abstracts to be presented at the XV International AIDS Conference specifically address ABC in Uganda, abstinence, monogamy and partner reduction? Please provide a list of the abstracts that address any of these topics.

(3) What publications, forums or special events are planned for attendees to showcase Uganda's successful ABC prevention program?

Thank you for your assistance with this request. We look forward to a timely reply.


Mark Souder, R-Indiana
Chairman, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources

Joseph Pitts
Member of Congress, R-Pennsylvania

Todd Akin
Member of Congress, R-Missouri

Ernest Istook
Member of Congress, R-Oklahoma

Jim DeMint
Member of Congress, R-South Carolina


The damnable irony is this Repressed Republican administration, just 10 days before, basically announced that condoms don't work... while "morally" misinterpreting the Ugandan "ABC" Model.   read more

More damnable irony is citing the Catholic Church.   read more

Barcelona AIDS Conference Thompson Zap   read more

NPR Morning Edition audio  June 23, 2004
The Bush administration dramatically cuts funding for this year's International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, to which it will send a drastically reduced delegation next month. Critics say the cuts reflect an effort to pressure conference sponsors to showcase religious groups that advocate AIDS prevention through sexual abstinence. NPR's Richard Knox reports.

Bangkok AIDS Conference issues


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