Log Cabin Calls Governor Huckabee's Comments About AIDS Deeply Disturbing

December 11, 2007 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – "Mike Huckabee's 1992 comments on HIV/AIDS were far outside the mainstream and inconsistent with public health standards from that time," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "While we are encouraged that Gov. Huckabee wants to develop a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV/AIDS, he needs to offer a more credible explanation for his comments than what he has offered so far."

In 1992, Mike Huckabee, then a candidate for the US Senate, advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public. Here's what he wrote in a questionnaire for the Associated Press at the time. "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague. It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

He also opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could "pose a dangerous public health risk."

In sharp contrast, the 1992 Republican platform said, "We are committed to ensure that our Nation's response to AIDS is shaped by compassion, not fear or ignorance, and will oppose, as a matter of decency and honor, any discrimination against Americans who are its victims."

In attempting to explain his 1992 comments, Huckabee said in a statement, "We didn't know as much as we do now about AIDS." But as early as 1986, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated that AIDS was not spread by casual contact.

"I've been treating people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of this epidemic and have lost a partner to the disease," said Dr. David Reznik, Log Cabin's healthcare policy advisor. "We knew a great deal about HIV and AIDS by 1992 – certainly enough to know there was no need to isolate those who are infected.

"Ryan White, the teenager who fought gallantly against HIV/AIDS and discrimination and educated the public about this disease, died in 1990. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act included protections for people with HIV. Also President George H.W. Bush signed the Ryan White CARE Act in 1990 to provide treatment and care for people with the disease. Magic Johnson announced his status in 1991. All of that shows it is simply not credible for Governor Huckabee to say we didn't know enough about the disease," said Reznik.

"Governor Huckabee shouldn't try to revise history to explain away his comments from 1992," said Sammon. "He ought to do the right thing and admit he was wrong."