In an interview with the Washington Blade, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain expressed support for a National AIDS Strategy and discussed gay rights legislation and his thoughts on President Bush’s domestic AIDS efforts.

McCain acknowledged that lives have been saved through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides global aid. But McCain stressed that more could be done here in the United States. He noted that countries that receive PEPFAR’s aid are required to develop a national plan to combat HIV/AIDS, while we have yet to create one.

“It’s important to settle on a national strategy—with input from state, local and federal government officials, along with the private sector, doctors, drug companies and AIDS advocates,” McCain said. “Let’s roll up our sleeves and put together a National AIDS Strategy for more effectively addressing the domestic challenges.”

Last year, when asked whether he believed condoms stopped the spread of HIV, McCain replied that he “wasn’t informed enough on it.” When the Blade asked the GOP nominee to revisit the topic, McCain responded that of course condoms help but don’t eliminate responsibility.

“Condoms aren’t fail-proof,” McCain said. “People must behave responsibly and make wise decisions. Government can help with prevention strategies, but all people must choose to take responsibility for their own health.”