Abstinence & Fidelity

When Congress reauthorized the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 , it loosened, yet maintained, a funding preference for programs that focus on abstinence and faithfulness to the exclusion of condom education. Also, the implementation guidelines for this law go even further to restrict condom distribution to those 15 and older. These preferences have undermined comprehensive, rights-based approaches to sexual and reproductive health. CHANGE’s field visits have uncovered several examples of how abstinence-only approaches interfere with the distribution of life-saving information and tools. For example, in the Dominican Republic, the government recently lowered the age of reproduction from 15 to 10 in consideration of the high number of pregnancies and STIs occurring in this age group. However, groups receiving U.S. funding could only provide condoms to young adolescents who have told program staff that they are sexually active. Because youth often find it difficult to reveal that they are sexually active, this restriction impedes a much-needed service.

Listen:  "Obviously there’s a threat to women being free to make these decisions on our own." --Serra Sippel, CHANGE president, on abstinence programs and women's rights on KRXA, a San Francisco-based radio station.


Watch: CHANGE discusses abstinence-only requirements in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in "PEPFAR Comes Under Fire at AIDS Conference," Global Health TV, July 2010:

Source$15 billionLaunched in 2003 by President George W. Bush, PEPFAR pledged $15 billion over 5 years to combat global HIV/AIDS.

Source$48 billionPEPFAR was reauthorized on July 30, 2008 and authorized $48 billion through fiscal year 2013.