Florida – Bob Poe, a Democrat, who is in the race for a seat in the Congress, posted a very touching video on his Facebook page. Famous for his Bob-for-congress campaign, the 61-year-old man confessed that for the last 18 years of his life, he has been living with HIV. The video unleashed a river of comments supporting Poe’s decision to go public with his condition. This shows people that politicians are human too and that in secret, they too struggle with many problems. Bob’s confession comes at a very precise time because the last Democratic and Republican platform was on 2012, and since it is held every four years, it is expected to happen this year.
HIV or AIDS is more than a terminal disease. Scientists have identified three methods of transmission; sexual intercourse, contact with infected body fluids, and mother to child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. Moreover, the populations at highest risk of transmission are gay men, drug users, and sex workers. That is why people with HIV face so much social stigma which keeps them from reaching out for health that could potentially allow them to live their lives.
People are not informed enough about the disease which leads to harsh judgment with no logical or scientific base. For example, there have been reports of people being expelled from schools or kicked out of their jobs after their condition went public. But according to scientists, not only is very simple to avoid an infection but nowadays, treatment makes possible for a person who was diagnosed to live a healthy and long life.
Poe said on the video that his motto was “If you want to make a difference, you have to be the difference.”
Bob Poe is currently running for an open congress seat to represent the Democratic Party in the state of Florida. So, why is he confessing such a delicate thing during the race? According to him, he met a woman during one of his rallies that told him she wanted to die because she was diagnosed with HIV. Understandably, he was touched as he faced the same situation 18 years ago when his doctor told him the same news. He did what he thought was right and told this woman he had HIV too, and gave her indications on where to go for treatment, and how to get the funds to pay for it. Poe’s case should be an example for everyone that if the disease is diagnosed quick enough, treatment can allow a person to live an entirely healthy life filled with achievements.
“Now first let me tell you that I’m perfectly healthy. My doctors tell me that in all likelihood, I’m going to die at the ripe, old age of something very normal. But that’s only because I got tested and diagnosed early and then I began a series of treatment,” Former business man Bob Poe said on the video.
His fans and friends quickly commented the post saying how courageous he was for going public with his condition. Many of them told me to be inspired by his words, and that the Congress needed someone like him. However, there is not an official statement from the Congress nor the Republican or the Democratic parties on this regard.
Many feel it is the perfect time to touch the subject
In 2008, Democrats, Independents, and many Republicans sat together to discuss plans, and ultimately, decided what was best for the future of more than three hundred billion Americans. The event was named the “Democratic Platform”, and it was scheduled to be held every four years. Consequently, in 2012, many prominent faces gathered to discuss the most important matters and decide the future of the nation. The battle against HIV was one of the topics in the conference. However, the HIV community, formed by patients and their caregivers, relatives, and other people concerned about the disease, felt that the political approach was split into two very contrasting sides.
Back then, the Republican Party opted for a very traditional method called “family planning.” The Republicans championed abstinence as the solution in the battle against AIDS, but for many people, this approach is extremely outdated and leaves behind a big group that did not get infected by having sex.
“We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS when transmitted sexually. It is effective, science-based, and empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes and avoid risks of sexual activity,” said the Republican Party at the platform in 2012.
On the other hand, the Democrats praised the Bush administration for its PEAR program. They said their new methods gave a lot of fruits and that Obama’s cabinet would improve it, and expand it. Since then, the United States health agencies have been involved in research for new HIV treatments and prevention programs not only in the country but also, around the world.
The next Democratic Platform is scheduled for summer this year which is a little earlier than the congress elections which are planned to happen on November 8, 2016.