U.S. Senator Jesse Helms Regrets Laxity on AIDS
February 21, 2002
Sen. Jesse Helms said Wednesday he was ashamed he had not done more to fight the worldwide AIDS epidemic and promised to keep it on his agenda until he leaves office next year.
"I have been too lax too long in doing something really significant about AIDS," Helms told hundreds of Christian AIDS activists gathered for a conference in Washington. "I'm not going to lay it aside on my agenda for the remaining months I have" in office.
In the past, Helms has clashed with gay activists over AIDS funding and statements he made blaming the spread of the disease on homosexuals. The North Carolina Republican did not mention homosexuality in his speech, but he said, "There is no substitute for the joy brought by strong and healthy marriages. We must not hesitate to share this truth" with people around the world.
Helms praised Janet Museveni, first lady of Uganda, for running a campaign based on "biblical values and sexual purity" to stop the spread of AIDS. He said his own efforts, which followed predictions by the United Nations that the disease would wipe out half the teenage population in some African countries, paled in comparison to Museveni's. "I'm so ashamed that I've done so little," Helms said.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
02.21.02; Jennifer Hoyt
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.