Dr. Goosby, a UCSF doctor who has held significant health care policy posts in the Clinton White House, was named director of PEPFAR, the program initiated by George W. Bush to combat AIDS around the world. The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief has seen success in reducing the number of deaths due to AIDS complications, but the number of new HIV infections remains on the rise.
Dr.Goosby, in discussing his priorities regarding a global policy to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, hinted that he might be interested in altering one of the tenets of PEPFAR:
the stipulation that organizations receiving money be able to opt out of aspects they opposed.
Essentially, as it is currently written, if a group receiving funds disagreed with any aspect of a program [contraceptives, in this case], they could refuse to comply with that aspect. The controversy over contraceptives in HIV prevention is seen by many health care professionals to be a major impediment to large-scale prevention efforts. Many religious (“faith-based”) groups refuse to distribute condoms or provide information about safe sex practices, which would help decrease the risk of new infections.
Read more about the appointment of Dr. Goosby at the New York Times.