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The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE).

The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) combats political and religious fundamentalisms by bringing the realities of women's lives to bear in Washington's debates, emphasising public health and insisting on human rights.

In solidarity with organisations worldwide, CHANGE continues to seek removal of the anti-prostitution loyalty oath (APLO) from U.S. global AIDS policy. The APLO requires recipients of U.S. global AIDS funding to have a policy opposing prostitution and to not use any funds to advocate legalisation of prostitution. The policy was injected into U.S. law in 2003 by religious and political forces seeking to insert their ideology and moral code into the U.S. government's response to the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. Although the Bush administration claimed the APLO is necessary to reduce the practice of prostitution (as a step to reduce HIV infections), the policy is a failure. Not decreasing prostitution in the slightest, it instead has created confusion and fear among U.S.--funded service providers because at any time they could be accused of supporting prostitution through their outreach and HIV prevention activities. Those who refused to sign have seen drop-in centers and empowerment programs close for lack of funds.

CHANGE has responded by researching the impact of the APLO, presenting the findings and advocating removal of the policy. CHANGE published a policy brief (www.genderhealth.org/pubs/ProstitutionOathImplications.pdf) and blog (www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/09/10/ perpetuating-prostitution-pledge-allegiance-failure) that highlight the human rights and public health problems emerging from the pledge. CHANGE delivered the policy brief to key Congressional leaders and will work with them to reform U.S. policy. The organisation is also working in coalition to ensure that the Obama administration is aware of and will mitigate the pledge's harmful impact.

Source: Mary Beth Hastings, Deputy Director, CHANGE. Email: mbhastings@genderhealth.org
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Title Annotation:International
Publication:Arrows For Change
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:303
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