Prevention and Sexual Health
The essential starting point of HIV prevention is understanding how HIV is transmitted and then employing mechanisms to avoid or reduce the risk of transmission. HIV is generally transmitted in one of three ways: unprotected sex, needle sharing, and from mother to child. Prevention efforts, and the legal and policy issues that surround them, are a critical component in the battle against HIV. This section includes reports, research, and recommendations on issues such as condom access programs, sperm washing, prevention of perinatal transmission, sexual health and HIV education, prevention interventions in correctional facilities, post-exposure prophylaxis, the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, needle exchange, partner services, and human rights as they relate to prevention and sexual health.
Financing Ignorance: A Report on Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in New York, New York Civil Liberties Union
This report assesses the result of an extensive study of the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in New York that received federal funding through 2006. After reviewing more than 33,000 pages of state and federal documents from 39 funded programs, the NYCLU concluded that ab-only programs across the state contain serious medical inaccuracies and fear-based approaches to health issues; demonstrate bias against LGBT persons and engage in negative gender stereotyping; in many cases redirected money to other after-school activities not directly related to sex education; relied on instructors with no training or expertise as educators; and were neither required to, nor opted to, engage in evaluation of program effectiveness. In addition, 53% of abstinence program funding goes to religious groups without real safeguards against the incorporation of religious content in ab-only programming; religious content was in fact included in the programming of some of these groups.
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On September 20, 2007, New York State Department of Health Commissioner Richard Daines announced that New York would no longer accept federal abstinence-only-until-marriage-or-death funding. Since 1998, New York has received $3.5 million a year for abstinence-only programming, and the state had spent an additional $2.6 million annually on it over the past decade. That money will now be used for actual sex education programming, according to Commissioner Daines, whose statement can be found here.
Legal Concerns for Providers of Internet HIV Prevention Programs: Recognizing and Avoiding Legal Pitfalls, Slide Presentation
As Internet-based prevention strategies gain in popularity, many service providers want to know how to protect their agencies and their staff from liability or legal complications that can arise from these efforts. Working with underage youth online, exposing staff to sexually charged virtual environments, and providing information and health advice that could be inaccurate are a few of the concerns that this slide presentation addresses. This presentation was prepared for a program entitled "Avoiding Liability While Increasing Your Reach: Internet-based Initiatives and the Law," at a 2007 NYC-sponsored conference on expanding use of the Internet for HIV prevention interventions. The presentation was prepared by Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director of The Center for HIV Law & Policy, Robert Thony, MHRA law intern/Brooklyn Law School, and Jane Levine, Esq., General Counsel, MHRA.
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