Organizations run by virulently antigay individuals received funds either directly under PEPFAR I or through a subcontract agreement to conduct prevention activities whose messages consisted of stigmatizing homosexuality and blaming homosexuals for the spread of HIV in their respective countries. The effect of prevention programs that stigmatize individuals, notably MSM, is to drive them further from access to prevention efforts that would enable them to avoid behaviors that put them at risk for contracting HIV. These prevention “programs” are not science based, have no place in a highly regarded development assistance program such as PEPFAR, and should not be funded with taxpayer dollars through PEPFAR partners or subcontractors.
What’s more, funding of virulently antigay individuals and organizations appears to have empowered others in their respective countries that have a broader antigay agenda and are attempting to criminalize homosexuality where it currently is not criminalized and to enhance punishments in those countries where it already is illegal. The U.S. government should not endorse such behavior, even tacitly, by sending foreign assistance in the form of PEPFAR grants to such individuals and organizations. Increased accountability measures should ensure that such programs are not currently receiving funds from PEPFAR and will not with subsequent appropriations.
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