Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Myers Explains HIV/AIDS Policy And Responds To Critics

Editor's Note: This is a guest post on Advance Indiana by Dr. Woody Myers, Democratic candidate for the 7th District congressional seat. Last year, Advance Indiana was the first to report on a possible bid for the 7th District seat by Dr. Myers. Because this site was also the first to note opposition he faced in New York from some corners of the GLBT community because of his supposed policies in responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis as Indiana's state health commissioner when New York Mayor David Dinkins appointed him to a similar post there, it is only appropriate that he be given the opportunity to set the record straight here. His campaign is also hosting a reception Wednesday evening, April 30 at 7:00 p.m at his campaign headquarters for the GLBT community to discuss his views.

I would like to thank Gary Welsh for the opportunity to address an issue that's recently come up on this blog.

Since my announcement for Congress in the 7th District of Indiana I've connected and reconnected with the people of Indianapolis and I've shared my thoughts on a wide range of issues. As we've reviewed the many important healthcare issues we face, my views and continued concerns regarding the HIV-AIDS epidemic here in Indianapolis and around the world have been discussed on numerous occasions. After completing five years as the Indiana State Health Commissioner, I was appointed New York City Health Commissioner for David Dinkins for almost two years, in 1990-1991. I was appointed in part because of my prior experience and knowledge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I was honored to accept the position then and am still honored to have served in Mayor Dinkins' administration. While in New York, the City Health Department accomplished a number of its goals to improve the public's health. We strengthened environmental controls in a notoriously dirty city, worked with schools to develop better sex education programs, and made great strides increasing awareness of tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS. We reached out to and worked with the GLBT community of New York. Together we created a true dialogue between various communities affected by this insidious virus.

After accepting the position in New York and before I started work as NYC Health Commissioner, I was interviewed by a number of reporters the New York media, including a reporter from the New York Post. I was asked about many issues relating to HIV-AIDS and consistently said we needed to fight against the disease, not the people with the disease, exactly as I had done in Indiana with Ryan White. One of many questions asked was what to do about HIV-positive citizens who knowingly and purposely spread the virus with the sole intention of infecting others. I responded by saying that in those few and very rare cases, the solution was to follow the guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Those guidelines required that in the specific instances where the disease was being spread to innocent victims purposely, the infecting individual should be restricted and treated. That was (and is) the policy of the CDC and was existing policy in New York.

The reporter (along with his headline editor) drastically exaggerated and took my comments out of context and presented me as an advocate for quarantine of all HIV-positive patients. This simply is not true, nor has it ever been true, and no one has any evidence whatsoever to the contrary. I have a record of responsibly educating the public on the true nature of HIV-AIDS beginning right here in Indiana where our state gained national attention while the Indiana
State Board of Health advocated for the INCLUSION of Ryan White into public school. When I left NYC to return to Indianapolis, the reporter later apologized for his initial article.

I will be proud to represent all of the people of the 7th district, especially those who are the most vulnerable in our society, including HIV-AIDS patients and their supporters. If you have any questions or would like more information I hope you will call our headquarters at 687-0707 or visit our website at http://www.myers2008.org/. I also hope you will join me and my staff tomorrow, Wednesday April 30th, in our headquarters for our GLBT Community Reception. The reception will begin at 7 pm and topics for discussion will include ENDA, the Federal Marriage Amendment and Don't Ask Don't Tell. Thank you for allowing me to address you in this forum.

Dr. Woody A. Myers Jr.


legaldiva said...

I'm glad Dr. Myers was able to respond to the allegations that have been circulating. I knew they couldn't have possibly been true in light of the way he handled the Ryan White situation, but clearly there are some folks that will grab onto anything (no matter how false it is) to avoid voting for someone.

artfuggins said...

Did Dr. Myers discuss the denial of his denial of claims to over 6000 Wellpoint policy holders in California or the sealed criminal indictments handed down for many of the top executives of that company. Did he speculate that he is one of the persons to be indicted?

Bart Lies said...

If there's anything to this fuggin innuendo, it's not much different from the operations of the Ghetto Mafia machine - namely, never give a damn about anybody but the members of your own posse.

Anonymous said...

As I've said before... Dr. Myers has this gay vote! :)