Scientists researching the origins of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus now estimate that it made the jump from chimps to humans in Cameroon decades earlier that initially thought — sometime between 1884 and 1924. They date the virus to that time period based on viral samples discovered from two different people in what is now Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1959 and 1960, samples that different enough to push back the date of HIV's origins to the 19th century. Scientists think that the movement from rural to urban areas helped spread the virus, which might have otherwise died off — which could have implications for preventative efforts, because, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says, "The only way we are going to get our arms around this is through prevention." Try telling that to John McCain.First off, John McCain supports the so-called Mexico City Policy, also known as the "global gag rule", which prevents international organizations that talk about or perform abortions from receiving family planning or population funds from the U.S. government. Although the Bush Administration was initially going to extend its global gag rule to its HIV/AIDS program (PEPFAR) in 2003, it eventually relented in the face of fierce public opposition. Despite the fact that PEPFAR funds may go to groups which also provide abortion services, the evidence shows that the gag rule as applied to family planning organizations in Africa, has had significantly detrimental effects on women's access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. It also doesn't help matters that a significant portion of the money in the President's HIV/AIDS program goes towards treatment, not prevention, and what prevention money is available is heavily weight in favor of — you guessed it — abstinence-only education. When asked last year about funding contraception programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, McCain hemmed, hawed, admitted he didn't "know" his position on the issue and finally admitted that he deferred to Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma on such issues. Oh, you mean the Tom Coburn who is fighting to tell everyone how "ineffective" condoms are to promote his abstinence-only-for-life agenda? The one who calls "the 'safe' sex myth" a "lie", even when all research shows that proper condom usage can help stem the transmission of disease? The one who led a Senate fight to hold up funding the President's HIV/AIDS program this year because it was expensive and didn't focus enough on treatment instead of prevention — after the Democrats coincidentally adjusted the formula to give more money to non-abstinence prevention program? That Tom Coburn? Now I feel totally better about what McCain will do when it comes to HIV/AIDS prevention programs here and abroad. Study Pushes Back Origins of AIDS Pandemic [Reuters] Philadelphia Inquirer: McCain Is A Good Friend To The Unborn [McCain-Palin] USAID's Family Planning Guiding Principles and U.S. Legislative and Policy Requirements [USAID] Bush Administration "Breaks the Promise" by Expanding Global Gag Rule to HIV Funding On Eve of World AIDS Day [Africa Focus] The "Mexico City Policy" And Its Effects On HIV/AIDS Services in Sub-Saharan Africa [Boston College] How Bush's AIDS Program is Failing Africans [The American Prospect] McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention [NY Times] Bush's Abstinence Man [The Advocate] Public Health Advocates Say Campaign to Disparage Condoms Threatens STD Prevention Efforts [The Guttmacher Institute] Coburn Places A Hold On HIV/AIDS Prevention Bill [Think Progress]
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In my high school health class, my teacher told us that condoms are absolutely ineffective at preventing HIV. Sad, really, to spread a total lie.