Protection Against Transmission of HIV
Introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
What it is
Why you should support it
What it is >>Current HIV/AIDS prevention efforts are failing women and girls. Recognizing that U.S. global HIV/AIDS prevention efforts do not adequately address the gender disparities that fuel the pandemic, the Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth (PATHWAY) Act would ensure that the United States is supporting efforts that address the real-life circumstances that put women and girls at risk for infection. The PATHWAY Act would require that the U.S. global HIV/AIDS prevention strategy include concrete steps to reduce women's and girls' disproportionate vulnerability —increasing access to female condoms; confronting gender-based violence, rape and sexual coercion, and child marriage; promoting positive male behavior and respect for the rights of women and girls; bolstering health care services that women use; and expanding educational and economic opportunities.
In addition, the PATHWAY Act would remove the current earmark that requires 33 percent of all U.S. prevention funds to be spent exclusively on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. This injudicious funding restriction undermines effective, comprehensive HIV prevention programs, and limits the effectiveness of country programs to respond to local needs.
Why you should support it >>
The current HIV prevention strategy does not adequately address the real-life situations that put women and girls at risk.
The evidence is overwhelming—girls and young women are at the epicenter
of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The current "ABC" prevention model (Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms) does not address the real-life circumstances faced by the majority of the world's women and girls. Most women are married and face violence if they attempt to negotiate 'safer' sex. They don't even get their fair share of the health services and education needed to prevent or treat HIV, or to learn their HIV status. The PATHWAY Act would require U.S. prevention efforts to be more comprehensive than ABC and confront additional health, social, and economic factors that put women and girls at risk.
PATHWAY would expand the reach of health services that women typically use. Successful prevention efforts require that comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services be accessible to all women—with the capacity to deliver HIV/AIDS and other STI prevention, counseling, testing, care, and treatment (or referral) services. The bill would help ensure that these basic health services, along with key HIV information, education, and prevention efforts, are available to women and girls.
U.S. prevention funding is being drained into unsuccessful and ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
Current law requires that 33 percent of all prevention funding must be spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and policies. A 2006 government analysis
indicated that this arbitrary earmark prohibits the ability of U.S.-supported programs to develop interventions that respond to local needs and social norms. The PATHWAY Act would guarantee that U.S. prevention funding be spent on reliable and successful prevention efforts, and not abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which leave women susceptible and ignore the root causes of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Bill status >>
The Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth (PATHWAY) Act (H.R. 1713) was introduced in the House on March 27, 2007 and into the Senate on December 5, 2007.
Take action >>Help build support for this vital legislation. Make a phone call today.
Contact your Senators and your Representative today
and ask them to co-sponsor the PATHWAY Act and work to ensure that these provisions are included in other HIV/AIDS legislation being considered by Congress. Click here
to find your Representative and his or her contact information. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, write or call to thank them for their leadership on this issue!
Page last updated February 2008.