Are you familiar with Vice President Mike Pence’s history on HIV/AIDS issues? It’s “dangerous” and “reckless,” according to the latest video in a campaign called “The Real Mike Pence” produced by gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
“Mike Pence has spent his career putting people in danger by denying them access to HIV prevention and treatment,” said Ashland Johnson, HRC’s director of public education and research, in a statement accompanying the video. (Click the image at the top of this article to watch “The Pence Report: HIV Issues.”)
“From spreading misinformation about condom use, to contributing to a major outbreak of HIV and AIDS in his home state, Pence has been reckless with the health and lives of those he is sworn to serve, choosing to promote a dangerous ideology over making the right decisions for the American people,” Johnson said.
As the video points out, in 2002 Pence criticized then–Secretary of State Colin Powell for promoting condom use among sexually active young people. Pence claimed that abstinence is the best choice and that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases,” “have zero preventative value” and are “too modern of an answer.”
Another example: Pence has also spoken out against needle exchange programs as a way to curb HIV and hepatitis C, which can be spread through injection drug use. He later changed his mind on that issue after an outbreak of HIV and hep C in Indiana, where he was governor at the time.
“The Pence Report: HIV Issues” is part of a series the HRC describes as “a comprehensive campaign—including a scathing report and microsite—exposing the vice president’s career of attacks on LGBTQ people and shining a spotlight on the inordinate influence he and his inner circle wield in the administration. It has never been more important for a nation to know— really know— its vice president.”
For more about the Indiana HIV and hep C outbreak, read “Can Rural America Learn to Live With Needle Exchange?” or click #Indiana.