Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 22, 2017, 08:02:27 AM

Login with username, password and session length

  • Total Posts: 722650
  • Total Topics: 58730
  • Online Today: 310
  • Online Ever: 1421
  • (August 13, 2016, 05:18:44 AM)
Users Online
Users: 4
Guests: 264
Total: 268


Welcome to the POZ Community Forums, a round-the-clock discussion area for people with HIV/AIDS, their friends/family/caregivers, and others concerned about HIV/AIDS.  Click on the links below to browse our various forums; scroll down for a glance at the most recent posts; or join in the conversation yourself by registering on the left side of this page.

Privacy Warning:  Please realize that these forums are open to all, and are fully searchable via Google and other search engines. If you are HIV positive and disclose this in our forums, then it is almost the same thing as telling the whole world (or at least the World Wide Web). If this concerns you, then do not use a username or avatar that are self-identifying in any way. We do not allow the deletion of anything you post in these forums, so think before you post.

  • The information shared in these forums, by moderators and members, is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between an individual and his/her own physician.

  • All members of these forums are, by default, not considered to be licensed medical providers. If otherwise, users must clearly define themselves as such.

  • Forums members must behave at all times with respect and honesty. Posting guidelines, including time-out and banning policies, have been established by the moderators of these forums. Click here for “Am I Infected?” posting guidelines. Click here for posting guidelines pertaining to all other POZ community forums.

  • We ask all forums members to provide references for health/medical/scientific information they provide, when it is not a personal experience being discussed. Please provide hyperlinks with full URLs or full citations of published works not available via the Internet. Additionally, all forums members must post information which are true and correct to their knowledge.

  • Product advertisement—including links; banners; editorial content; and clinical trial, study or survey participation—is strictly prohibited by forums members unless permission has been secured from POZ.

To change forums navigation language settings, click here (members only), Register now

Para cambiar sus preferencias de los foros en español, haz clic aquí (sólo miembros), Regístrate ahora

Finished Reading This? You can collapse this or any other box on this page by clicking the symbol in each box.

Author Topic: Charles King says why he interrupted the President's HIV/AIDS speech  (Read 2251 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MarcoPoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 397
Why I Interrupted President Obama's Speech on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

An editorial by Charles King, President and CEO, Housing Works


On July 13, I interrupted President Obama’s speech at a reception marking the release of his National HIV/AIDS Strategy. While I only got out two words—the now-infamous “Mr. President!”—I backed off when the president promised to speak with me after his speech.

Since, I’ve received a lot of criticism. On my organization’s Web site and in the blogosphere, many have called me disrespectful and overly brash, citing the interruption as counterproductive. I’d like to explain why I believe it was necessary to take such a bold action at such a formal event.

President Obama’s plan fails to identify HIV/AIDS in the U.S. as the emergency that it is—and if we want him to do so, we’ve got to take him to task. There is a catastrophic AIDS epidemic in Obama’s own backyard. Seven percent of black men in Washington, D.C. have HIV. Seven percent. In Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, 2.2 percent of the population is positive. Yet even close proximity to the epidemic has not been enough to wake President Obama to the urgent reality we face as a nation.

Today, Housing Works released a policy document explaining what’s wrong with the president’s plan and how we would like to see it revised (available at www.housingworks.org/activism). It’s easy to sum up the plan’s most egregious defects. Thirty years into the AIDS crisis, President Obama’s long-awaited strategy aims to cut new HIV infections by a mere 25 percent—in a leisurely five years. It offers no solution for the 2,359 Americans on AIDS Drug Assistance Program wait lists. It minimizes housing as an important component of care and completely ignores the role of homelessness in HIV transmission. It offers little in new funding to carry out its goals.

This is a strategy to manage the epidemic, not end it.

Yet almost all of the nation’s major AIDS organizations embraced the plan with enthusiasm. Indeed, the audience at the White House that day laughed approvingly at another interruption: the man who shouted, “We love you!” when President Obama began to speak.

We cannot allow affection for President Obama (and gratitude that he is not President Bush) to subdue us into acceptance of the status quo. Even if the president’s plan succeeds, more than a quarter million Americans will have been infected with HIV in the next five years. In 2015 alone, we will still have more than 42,000 new HIV infections.
Assuming that the administration’s goals remain constant (reducing infections by 25 percent every five years), we won’t reach 10,000 new infections per year until 2040. We won’t get near 5,000 new infections until 2055.

We have effective HIV treatment and prevention methods. It is disgraceful that we are expected to endorse the pace of a plan that will take more than half a century to realize its vision of a nation where “HIV infections are rare.”
Is this truly the best we can expect? In his first major speech about the Gulf Coast oil disaster, President Obama said that we must approach that unprecedented environmental catastrophe as if it were an “epidemic,” and he vowed to clean up all of the spillage. Why won’t he vow to eradicate AIDS? From where I sit, we know far more about stopping the virus than we do about cleaning up deep-water oil spills.

I was at the closing ceremony of the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July when my colleague Larry Bryant took the stage to tell thousands about the epidemic in Washington, D.C. Jaws literally dropped. People from Haiti and Burundi and South Africa had no idea. I was embarrassed. Here we are, a nation that has allotted more than $1 trillion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet we cannot make the financial commitment to end the killer virus in our own homeland.

Perhaps interrupting President Obama was a little brazen. Believe me, I was caught up in the historic nature of the event, too. I was so nervous that it took me three tries to get up the courage to interrupt the nation’s 44th president. It was only when President Obama referred to the ADAP crisis, which he has failed to resolve, that I knew I had no choice but to speak up.

I’m not sorry that I did so, though I knew I would be the proverbial skunk at the party. I got the chance to speak with the president after his speech, an opportunity I otherwise never would have had amid a throng of well-wishers.
Whether or not he acts on them, President Obama heard my concerns. Now we in the AIDS community have to decide if we’ll cheerlead—or demand real change.


Terms of Membership for these forums

© 2017 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved.   terms of use and your privacy
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.