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D.C. Mayoral Candidate Wants HIV Status on Driver's Licenses

A Video Blog

By Justin B. Terry-Smith

September 2, 2010

Leo Alexander is one of the candidates for the Washington, D.C. Mayoral Election. A couple of weeks ago on August 11th Alexander made a statement at a Forum that he will push for HIV testing at the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles]. If most of you are not familiar with it, some other people call it the MVA [Motor Vehicle Administration]. You know that place where you pick up your License.

I wondered why someone would want a testing center at every DMV in D.C. Then he made the most outrageous statement I've ever heard come from a candidate of any election. Alexander says he wants to push to have everyone who is a D.C. resident have their HIV status on their Driver's License.

I thought


To me this is almost as bad as someone branding me with a red hot poker. This would be one of the most heinous acts done to people with HIV I've seen. This is appalling. I'm so glad he is not a heavy hitter in the race for D.C.'s Mayor. This would be in violation of so many health information privacy/HIPAA laws it's not even funny. Does he even know what HIPAA is?

Also there is another thing about Alexander. Two of my reliable sources approached Alexander about this statement at a picnic some days later. Alexander was asked about what he said at the Forum and he stands strong in his convictions. He also was asked what his campaign was proposing to do about hate crimes against the LGBT Community in D.C. He said he wasn't aware that hate crimes was an LGBT issue -- he associated hate crimes with being only towards black people.

I'm thinking where has this man been sleeping? UNDER A ROCK? Hate crimes is an issue for EVERYONE -- White, Black, Gay etc. So I guess for Leo Alexander to report a hate crime for me, I'm going to have to get the words "Black F@ggot" spray painted on my car.

Leo Alexander for D.C. Mayor ... what a joke.

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See Also
At D.C. Candidates Forum, a Lack of Depth and Urgency
Spotlight Series: HIV Stigma & Discrimination
What Does HIV/AIDS Stigma Look Like in Your Life?
More News on HIV Stigma and Discrimination

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Dave (Pa) Thu., Jan. 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm UTC
This is yet another glaring example about why people are reluctant to get tested. In this case, testing would be mandatory and most anyone would have access to this info. Where exactly has this "politician" been since the 1980's???? What about disclosing on a need to know basis? I am frightened by these kinds ideas! May GOD have mercy on all of us that are affected
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Comment by: Niles P. (Denver, CO) Sat., Sep. 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm UTC
I wrote a similar paper to this in my law school Future Law class. I proposed a scenario in which all people living with HIV were mandated by the CDC to get RFID tags (computer chips) implanted under their skin. The main reason for doing this was to see my fellow classmates opinion of such an atrocious act. However, my plan back-fired with most of the class being completely in support of my new idea. We should be scared of new candidates emerging like Alexander and do everything within our power to ensure that these candidates do not get elected - they should never be on the ballot in the first place.
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Comment by: Bobby (Cleveland, OH) Sat., Sep. 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm UTC
But really, why stop at putting our status on our license? Wouldn't it be so much faster to separate the tainted from the pure if we all just wore a scarlet plus sign on our sleeves? But we could take it why not a tattoo...on our foreheads? While we're at it...

ah, screwit, this guy's an idiot. Its just sad to see this sort of lunacy happens in places other than the flyover.
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Comment by: alive2 (nys) Fri., Sep. 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm UTC
wow, not only does it violate hippa laws, it violates right to privacy, it would be tantamount to numbering like hitler did to the jews.i would think he just tossed his hat out of the election for mayor, its obvious he has not an ounce of ethical though or understanding of what it would start. would ethnic cleansing be next on his things to do list?
i for one would hope the only vote he gets is the one he casts for himself.
im sure there are plenty of other laws this kind of move would do, but human decency is the biggest
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Comment by: Jerry (LA, CA) Fri., Sep. 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm UTC
As a conservative, this has got to be the worst proposal I've EVER heard! What happens when the individual contracts HIV one day AFTER he/she got their license?

This is absolutely ignorant and will only scare more people into not getting treatment or even tested!

Do we still live in the land of the "Free?"
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Comment by: James A Bryant (Atlanta Georgia) Thu., Sep. 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm UTC
Very Well said Justin...
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Comment by: John (Biron) Thu., Sep. 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm UTC
NEVER pass ever...send that to the ACLU now and don't give it another thought. Our preisdent is not only a constitutional scholar BUT professor for 10 years and will NEVER allow such filth in his own back yard while raising two gorgeous young women....amen!
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Justin's HIV Journal

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)

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