Wednesday, April 30, 2003

From AlterNet.
the US government's strategy for disease prevention was hardly in tune with the philosophy that has taken root around the world – and so masterfully expressed by the Brits: Give people accurate, comprehensive information and services, and they are more likely to stay healthy. Instead of finding similarly clever ways to disseminate such information to the American public, the Bush administration was actively trying to censor it.

The most blatant attack was the severe gutting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fact sheet on condoms, which had been disappeared from the website in July 2001 and replaced, with significant battle scars, in December 2002. Pre-Bush, the fact sheet had encouraged consistent condom use, advice supported by vast bodies of scientific research that show condoms to be 98-100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. "The primary reason that condoms sometimes fail," read the original fact sheet, "is incorrect or inconsistent use, not failure of the condoms itself." Following that statement was user-friendly guidance on proper use.

Now, according to the once nonpartisan CDC, abstinence is the "surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases." Along with the condom "how to," the CDC removed the "Programs that Work" section, which summarized several large studies of teenagers that found no increase or hastening of sexual activity among those who were taught about condoms.

It's bad enough that fundamentalists want fable to replace truth in our educational system. Tragic really. It is also tragic that fable has taken over the CDC. The diseases that plague our nation will go on longer and more lives will be sacrificed on the altar of primitive religious ideology. While removing the Taliban from Kandahar we seem to have given them a new home in Washington and Atlanta.

No comments: