Yesterday, on December 3, 2009, Bob Bucklew, Outreach Coordinator for the Cleveland AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and proud IRMA member gave the following testimony to the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy. He spoke with regard to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy being being developed in the United States. In his allotted 90 seconds, which you can find below, he discussed anal sex and rectal microbicides.
Way to speak rectal truth to power Bob! You are an inspiration to us all!
I would like to thank the Office of National AIDS Policy for coming to Ohio to hear what we have to say. I must admit that I am coming to this hearing with a good deal of skepticism. The history of governmental policy in reaction to the AIDS epidemic has been primarily judgmental of those most at risk for HIV infection, counter to scientific research, and often simply mean-spirited.
If we are finally to have a National AIDS Policy, one which will actually make an impact, I believe these things must be included:
The first is the need for universal access to needle exchange programs.The federal ban on needle exchange programs must be lifted immediately. As people should not be placed at higher risk in red states than blue states, the federal government should insist that states alter their laws to permit needle exchange programs.
The second is the nonjudgmental acceptance that anal sex is a common, quite natural and normal sex act between two people. Repeal the ban on federal funding for effective prevention materials for men who have sex with men.
Increase the priority and funding for the development of rectal microbicides. Rectal microbicides should no longer be treated simply as an adjunct to the development of vaginal microbicides. The development of new HIV prevention tools for anal sex is a goal that can stand alone.
Throughout this fall, the Office of National AIDS Policy has been hosting town hall community discussions in cities throughout the U.S. to provide opportunities for individual citizens to provide White House staff and other policy makers with their recommendations for achieving the President’s three goals for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: 1) Reducing HIV incidence; 2) Increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes; and 3) Reducing HIV-related health disparities. The administration has been hearing from consumers, advocates, providers, and community members in Ohio and scheduled a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2009 in Cleveland.