Underqualified Candidate Appointed To Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

NOTE: The following is one of a series of over 100 case studies produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program between 2004 and 2010 to document the abuses highlighted in our 2004 report, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making.


A high-profile appointment of a scientist with questionable credentials is the selection of Dr. Joseph McIlhaney to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. McIlhaney is a Texas-based doctor known for his published disdain for the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and his continued advocacy of abstinence-only programs despite negligible evidence that they actually reduce pregnancy rates among young people.1 Despite McIlhaney’s dearth of published, peer-reviewed scientific research or endorsement by any established medical societies, the George W. Bush administration has selected him to serve in a new capacity during a four-year term on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2


1. See “The Assault on Birth Control and Family Planning Programs,” Planned Parenthood, October 2003. Online at www.plannedparenthood.org/library/birthcontrol/031030_birthcontrol_report.pdf. See also C. Connolly, “Texas Teaches Abstinence with Mixed Grades,” Washington Post, January 21, 2003.

2. CDC press release, “Secretary Thompson appoints nine to CDC Advisory Committee,” February 20, 2003.

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