Published reports today say the Bush administration is replacing Scott Evertz as director of the White House National Aids Policy Office. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Evertz, who’s openly gay, will move to the Department of Health and Human Services to monitor the administration’s global AIDS efforts.
The report also says Mr. Evertz will be succeeded by Dr. Joseph O’ Neill, a career civil servant who’s also gay. Some observers say the change results from pressure from more conservative members of the administration, who oppose Mr. Evertz’s broader approach to AIDS prevention -- that is, promoting condom use, and not just abstinence.
David Smith is a spokesman for the “Human Rights Campaign,” which promotes gay and lesbian rights in the United States. He spoke to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the reported change in the White House AIDS office. He says he doubts the move is a promotion for Mr. Evertz. He says the place to be, in order to fight AIDS in the United States, is the White House AIDS office. Mr. Smith says it’s unclear what the appointment of Dr. O’Neill will mean, but he hopes it means a renewed commitment by the Bush administration.