Mike Huckabee has recently come under fire for some statements he made concerning AIDS while running for senate in the early 90’s. He suggested that AIDS patients be isolated as a medical precaution and also said that homosexuality presented a public health risk.
I will post Huckabee’s response, but first, my thoughts on his comments from fifteen years ago. I was about nine years old when Huckabee made those comments. I vividly remember my Saturday morning cartoons being interrupted with public service announcement commercials concerning AIDS and HIV. I also remember a lot of media coverage of NBA star Magic Johnson and his contraction of HIV.
Needless to say, those were scary times. AIDS and HIV were really coming into the public spotlight for the first time and among the public there were still many unknowns about the disease, prevention, and how it could be spread. In light of the context, fifteen years ago, Huckabee was probably making a prudent statement reflecting the common knowledge of the time.
His statement about homosexuality is sure to come up again as this campaign moves forward. I happen to agree with the Governor’s statement. In my human sexuality class in college, we spent a good while studying STD’s. It is a readily available fact that HIV and AIDS are rampant among homosexuals, particularly men. I won’t get into details, but the information is easily accessible with a simple internet search. He will undoubtedly be criticized for the statement that homosexuality is a public health risk, but that does not make the statement wrong.
Here is an excerpt of the Governor’s response:
In the late 80’s and early 90’s we were still learning about the virus that causes AIDS. My concern, as a Senate candidate at the time, was to deal with the virus using the same public health protocols that medical science and public health professionals would use with any infectious disease. Before a disease can be cured and contained we need to know exactly how and with near certainty what level of contact transmits the disease. There was still too much confusion about HIV transmission in those early years.
Full article here (link)