March 14, 2016

Hey Hillary, Want to Lead the HIV Conversation? Get Tested

As most of the community that has been impacted by HIV know, especially those who remember the awful and hateful response of the Reagan Administration, Hillary Clinton made a pretty awful gaffe last week praising Nancy Reagan’s “effective, low-key advocacy on HIV/AIDS.  This was yet another example of a completely unforced error by Clinton, something that keeps so many people from trusting, or in many cases, having faith that she can reach her potential given the Clinton history of being their own worst enemy (Rose Law Firm, Whitewater, Lewinsky, private e-mails, Clinton Foundation’s questionable cronyism, and most recently, having Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright on stage to condemn any female who does not support Hillary). Her profound ability to enrage and divide her own base (in this case by complete fabrication) is perplexing to me. It’s the questionable judgment, combined with the claims that people are out to get them but then giving plenty of reasons to do this, that you get with the Clintons. Given the alternatives in the general election (Drumpf/Cruz/Rubio), I will no doubt vote for Hillary if she's the nominee, but will do so with eyes wide open that it’s always a mixed bag. 

Here is one thing that could bring a whole new level of integrity for Hillary when it comes to HIV: get tested.  Do it in a public arena, as Obama did with Senator Brownback at Saddleback Church. It could go a long way to atoning for what you did not do in 1998 when your husband denied “having sex with that woman (Lewinsky)”, and you railroaded her as well until proven wrong. Given your husband’s well-known infidelity and your public denials, you are certainly in the higher-risk category, and this would be a great way to show some humility and vulnerability. Lead the next level of the conversation by breaking down stigma, showing that HIV is a concern for all of ‘us’, not ‘them’. 

-Brad Ogilvie