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Report Accuses Bush of Distorting HIV Science

Report Accuses Bush of Distorting HIV Science


A report released August 7 by Democrats on the House Committee on Government Reform claims the Bush administration has 'manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings' to further support its conservative ideology on more than 20 issues, including HIV prevention and abstinence-only sex education. Titled 'Politics and Science in the Bush Administration,' the report concludes that the Administration's 'political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the president, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered Web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists. The subjects involved span a broad range, but they share a common attribute'the beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important supporters of the president, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups.' Some of the specific AIDS-related charges in the report, prepared by the special investigations division of the committee's minority staff at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman of California, are that altered performance measures were used to evaluate abstinence-only sex education programs to make it easier to claim they are effective. Administration officials also were accused of removing information from government Web sites, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's site. The deletions concerned information about using condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and data from studies showing comprehensive sex education does not boost sexual activity among teenagers. As part of his efforts to promote a conservative ideological shift, Bush also has made several appointments of people with political rather than scientific credentials to scientific advisory committees, according to the report. This included Bush's appointment of Jerry Thacker, a Pennsylvania marketing consultant who has called AIDS a 'gay plague,' to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. Thacker withdrew his name from consideration after AIDS activists reacted angrily to his appointment. White House spokesman Scott McClellan told The New York Times that the report is erroneous and that the president and his advisers review the 'best available science based on what's right for the American people.' The report can be seen at or at

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