Brazil turns down US Aids funds

Shame on the U.S.A for once again trying to kill a disease at it’s root instead of just treating the symptoms.

Aids campaigners have welcomed a decision by Brazil to turn down US funds because of a clause in the agreement condemning prostitution.
The US development agency, USAid, had offered Brazil around $40m (£21m).

But Brazil’s top Aids official, Pedro Chequer, said the US’ conservative approach to treating the disease would not help.

The US is being accused of bullying because they set conditions that aid money be channeled to programs advocating abstinence and can not be used to treat prostitutes or for abortions.

But Aids activists in Brazil said the clause would hamper the treatment of infected sex workers and their clients.

Mr Chequer also called for official recognition of prostitution as a profession in Brazil.

Sex workers should have the right to collect state welfare payments like other workers, he said.

“That clause shows disrespect for sex workers. We advocate the legalisation of the profession, with the right to collect INSS [social security] and a pension,” said Mr Chequer.

Try and comprehend this if you can, we aren’t refusing to get involved, and we aren’t disinterested in the crisis.

We are offering 40 million dollars to one country to help them combat the disease but that offer is being refused because we won’t allow the money to be used to promote things we disagree with.

I don’t know if there are words to describe how disgusted this makes me. The arrogance of the Brazilian government is staggering. Denying the acceptance of money that could be used to save countless lives just to score a few political points is as criminal as trying to subsidize your governmental pocketbook off the humliation and degradation of your citizens.

Why do we even bother to try?

*Update 5/6/05

Thanks to a commenter at AWH, I was directed to the blog Behind Enemy Lines, where the author has dug into the charges leveled by Brazil and found them to be false and the BBC’s article to be misleading in it’s presentation of the facts.

Actual text from USAID

II. Limitation on the Use of Funds The following must be included in the Standard Provisions in any grant to a public international organization, any grant or cooperative agreement to a U.S. or non-U.S. non-governmental organization, and any contract that includes FY04 HIV/AIDS funds.
In addition, it is to be included when any existing assistance agreement or contract is amended to add FY04 HIV/AIDS funding.
None of the funds made available under this agreement may be used to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or trafficking. Nothing in the preceding sentence shall be construed to preclude the provision to individuals of palliative care, treatment, or post-exposure pharmaceutical prophylaxis, and necessary pharmaceuticals and commodities, including test kits, condoms, and, when proven effective, microbicides.[emphasis added]

As you can see here it is clearly stated that the US does not prohibit the treatment of prostitutes but does prohibit the advocation and promotion of the sex industry.

crossposted at a western heart

One Response to Brazil turns down US Aids funds

  1. Unbelievable. I’m posting a link to this on my site.