Roy, I don’t want to muddle the issue with these adjacent concerns. Best as I can tell, the groups that would receive the money would not be positioned to legalize prostitution. Therefore, it would be a quite legitimate concern if the recipient organizations ? given the scenario you describe for illegal prostitution ? implicitly or explicitly encourage prostitution.

As for your concerns, I don’t know how much of an effect on AIDS the legalization of prostitution would have ? I presume you’re speaking here, as opposed to the Third World ? but I suspect legalization would introduce new ways for the federal and state governments to meddle, just as legalized alcohol brought about exorbitant prices for spiced rum. I think furthermore that you would see an increase in prostitution “sales” even if regulations require frequent testing for AIDS. My undestanding is that one can have the HIV virus for some period of time before it will show up on the test. Furthermore, the high prices sure to brought about by legalization (and the inevitable federal regulation thereof) would surely also encourage finding illegal substitutes. One might also surmise that a “taste” for prostitutes encouraged by the legalization of it could serve like an “enabling drug” for some johns, who would seek out more dangerous, illegal activities. Basically, I don’t know how all those effects (and others that I haven’t thought of) would work together, and whether they would tend to reduce or increase the spread of AIDS.

As for sending money coerced from us by the federal government to fight AIDS, I would rather have the government get out of the business of charity altogether and allow private individuals the wherewithal to decide how to allocate their own resources to charity and other endeavors. I believe recent history shows that individuals, when given greater command over their own resources, tend to be very charitable. Although I imagine Planned Parenthood would object to their choices, too.