Every year, the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator sends out what it calls Country Operational Plan (COP) guidance to embassies around the world. You could think of COP as a cop: It tells the hundreds and hundreds of US government health experts the goalposts ahead, including a list of things that can’t be done.
One COP piece of guidance this year has caused some distress in the field: Family planning can be integrated into HIV programs, but no US government money can buy family planning commodities, including contraceptives, due to US regulations.
So in some countries a women receiving help in preventing transmission of HIV to their child during birth can’t later receive free contraceptives with PEPFAR money.
Dr. Eric Goosby, the global AIDS coordinator, said in an interview with journalists Thursday that he and his staff have been trying to find a way to allow women to be able to get those commodities. He said he is trying to sort through political and bureaucratic issues.