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U.S. Senate Nominee Christine O'Donnell on HIV Funding: Less Is More

By Warren Tong

September 23, 2010

Warren Tong is the research editor for and

Whether you're political or not, you can't help but raise your eyebrows at some of the things Republican U.S. Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell has said, whether it's with respect to her campaign against masturbation or dabbling in witchcraft. Last week, a C-SPAN video surfaced of her in 1997, talking about government funding for HIV. She says, "A lot of the money that we're spending goes to things we know will not prevent AIDS, but indeed continue to spread the disease, when a lot of our money goes to distribute condoms in high schools, when a lot of our money goes to distributing material that is literally pornographic." Which sounds like she's saying that using condoms spreads HIV.

But let's go further. In the video above, a caller phones in to equate HIV-positive people with criminals, saying, "It's hard for me to have a whole lot of sympathy for someone that goes out and does something that they know they shouldn't do. It's like a bank robber getting shot in the act of committing the robbery." To which O' Donnell responds, "He makes an excellent point."

Actually, she goes on to say, "There are types of cancer that no behavior will directly make you contract cancer. It's just an act of God. But AIDS, your behavior is directly connected to whether or not you get AIDS. [...] When somebody finds out that they're at high risk for heart disease, they cut out the fatty foods, they start exercising, they quit smoking. However, our approach to AIDS, when you're in a high-risk behavior, is to eliminate the consequences so that you can continue in your lifestyle which brings about this disease."

And which lifestyle is that? The human lifestyle? Whether she likes it or not, people will continue to have sex outside of marriage. Not everybody will (or legally can) get married. Not everybody will be monogamous. There's no way abstinence-only-until-marriage will work. But to be fair, the video is from 1997. Perhaps her viewpoint has changed. Maybe.

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