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Obama Administration ‘Should Adopt Evidence-Based Approaches’ For HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care

“The Supreme Court is expected to rule next month in a case about whether the U.S. government can require organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition of funding for their international HIV/AIDS work,” Rebecca Schleifer, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch’s Health and Human Rights Program, and Darby Hickey, a policy analyst with the Best Practices Policy Project, write in a CNN opinion piece. “Regardless of the outcome of this case, it is important to recognize that forcing organizations to denounce sex work marginalizes sex workers and increases their risk of becoming infected with HIV,” they continue.

“President Obama has said he intends to set public policy based on evidence (or ‘science’), not ideology,” they write, noting, “The administration made a commitment to the U.N. Human Rights Council two years ago that it would address discrimination against sex workers.” However, “[d]efending the anti-prostitution pledge flies in the face of that commitment,” Schleifer and Hickey write, concluding, “Instead of allowing politics to dictate global HIV policy, the administration should adopt evidence-based approaches and partner with sex workers to ensure our common goals: an end to HIV, and human rights for all” (5/23).