NYC City Council Candidate Corey Johnson Comes Out as HIV-Positive in the NYT

NYC City Council candidate Corey Johnson has come out as HIV-positive in a NYT article which casts Johnson's political pursuits in the footsteps of his predecessor Tom Duane, who was also out, gay, and HIV-positive:

JohnsonMr. Duane famously won the district that covers much of Manhattan’s West Side below 59th Street (currently represented by the mayoral candidate Christine C. Quinn) in 1991, during the height of the city’s AIDS panic, as one of the first openly H.I.V. positive political candidates in the country. Lending his friend his valuable endorsement, Mr. Duane told me he phoned Mr. Johnson not long ago to talk about the campaign, asking him first, “How are we going to handle your H.I.V. status? Have you told your mother?”

Times have changed since then, however, though not completely:

When Mr. Duane joined the Senate in the late ’90s, he said, there were people in Albany who would not shake his hand. He cries talking about a little boy upstate who was denied admission to his community pool because of his illness. “I’m the bearer of many people’s secrets about H.I.V.,” Mr. Duane said.

Mr. Johnson has many friends with H.I.V. who fear telling employers. “There’s still so much stigma and people don’t realize it,” he told me.

And there is still more to be done for those who do not share the advantages of white men living in Chelsea — budget increases for the city’s H.I.V./AIDS Services Administration, for example. Mr. Johnson is eager for a chance to have the fight.

More here

Note: Johnson is Towleroad's former political director.

Comments

  1. Jason says

    I knew Corey years ago in his days as an XY cover boy for being an out, gay high school football quarterback (it felt like having a minor celebrity around at the time!). He was a great guy then and seemingly is now; I’m sorry to hear of his diagnosis but also heartened that he’s using it in a way to help other people by taking one step to remove stigma… that’s precisely what I would expect he would do.

  2. john says

    I’m only starting to learn about Corey thru a David Mixner 20/20 profile posting on facebook last week. Remarkable young man who continues to show just how remarkable a man can be. Brave, open and selfless.
    Look forward to watching his continued rise.

  3. Matt says

    Instead of all this focus on “destigmatizing” HIV, how about trying harder to prevent more people from becoming infected? As the article itself says, HIV rates are rising in Chelsea, which already has the highest rates in the city. Destigmatizing HIV helps the people who already have it, not the people who don’t — and when you destigmatize something, you get more of it. Why are we supposed to see this goal as noble, when in reality it’s selfish?

  4. Matt says

    I’m sorry to hear of his diagnosis but also heartened that he’s using it in a way to help other people by taking one step to remove stigma… that’s precisely what I would expect he would do.

    Help other people? Since he’s HIV positive, why not see it as helping *himself*? Ever hear of the phrase, “conflict of interest”?

  5. Matt says

    This NYT piece is a total puff piece, meant to tug at the heartstrings (people wouldn’t even shake that other guy’s hand!)

    But how about some acknowledgement of the fact that apparently us gay men are making the same mistakes that we did a generation ago? How about some reflection on that? How did Corey Johnson become infected? Did he expose other people to the virus? I’m sick of the “magical seroconversion out of nowhere” theme.

  6. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    @Matt – You gotta time machine? Many people have decades-old HIV infections. So you want to “grandfather” their stigma because it predates the current meme?

    How about we reduce/eliminate the infection rate *AND* destigmatize? Can you not do both the former and the latter, or can you only do the former if you reserve the right to hunt witches when it suits you?

  7. Jimmy says

    Would seem that having sex has more downsides than upsides. Between all the STD’s and potential risk of contracting HIV, it would seem that a solid catalog of gay porn websites is the best option.

  8. Adam says

    Oh, please, so are we supposed to applaud Corey for being HIV+. No siree – you won’t get me applauding him.

    As far as I’m concerned, gay men who play identity politics with AIDS are simply helping the religious Right.

  9. Matt says

    In the article it mentions that Johnson has seen HIV rates rise in his own district. But as far as the article indicates, his way of “taking that on” will be to fight the stigma of HIV. Which of course benefits him, as an HIV positive person. When you send a message of “HIV — it’s not so bad! And, you know, it just happens, magically! Nobody’s ever, you know, responsible for it” then you shouldn’t be surprised to see HIV rates rise.

    Now that HIV isn’t an automatic death sentence (though poor people, unlike politically well-connected Corey Johnson, still do die from AIDS, even here in the US) we’ve decided to just accept the massively disproportionate infection rates among us. God forbid we actually think about why we have the infection rates we do. God forbid we take a look at the sexual choices we make.

    This kind of approach can’t go on forever. All kinds of things are bubbling around the edges. Some STDs are becoming untreatable (so far only in other countries) and there’s hepatitis and of course there were the deaths from meningitis recently. And back in the 1970s no one knew about HIV; there might be something else out there that we, today, don’t know about.

    The hypocrisy and unseriousness of our approach to HIV and STDs ought to be subject of major reflection. Step 1: stop pretending that “destigmatization” is this incredibly noble goal and that the only problem with HIV worth mentioning is that people with it (in every case, having contracted it magically out of nowhere) are treated meanly.

  10. Adam says

    A good start to addressing AIDS would be to shut down the bath-houses and to arrest men who engage in highly promiscuous sexual activity with total strangers.

    I’m honestly fed up with the victim card as played by gay men with AIDS.

  11. Matt says

    Maybe this will really work out for Corey Johnson’s political aspirations. After all, as the article itself notes, Chelsea has the highest HIV rates in New York, and rates are rising. Since HIV is thankfully no longer a death sentence but now, instead, a life sentence, and 20% of gay men nationwide are HIV positive, according to the CDC, he’s got himself quite a large constituency for championing “destigmatization” (as opposed to, say, honest reflection about dangerous sex practices and serious proposals and messages for reducing new infections). When you destigmatize something, you get more of it, but hey — Corey Johnson’s already HIV positive, what does he care?

    This approach is, of course, the one being taken among HIV “prevention” and treatment organizations all over the country, which are chock-full of HIV positive people. One would think, looking at these “prevention” orgs that don’t, apparently, prevent HIV (rates are rising among gay men once more, and they’ve *never* actually fallen, only stabilized, in the past) and which are devoting more and more of their resources to the goal of “destigmatization”, which of course benefits people who already have HIV, and which are largely staffed by HIV-positive people (interesting, isn’t it, how a major plus for a job that’s supposedly about keeping people healthy and preventing a lifelong, incurable infection is to be infected yourself?) — one would think that all these things might be seen as an outrageous conflict of interest and a huge problem. But you’re not supposed to notice these things. Look over there — Sarah Palin said something stupid again!

  12. John says

    From the late 80s to 2000 that was a sharp decline in the incidence (new cases) of HIV. The rate of incidence has since picked up again and climbing. What changed?

  13. Kevin says

    AGree with others here. We are afraid to call out the unsafe pratices many in the LGBT community engage in for fear it will give fuel to the religious right.
    More to the point,we seem to have this idea that because you won’t die from it as fast as you use to,AIDS is no big deal.
    It still IS a big deal and we need to start addressing it as such.

  14. David Hearne says

    John – What changed was the perception of AIDS as a terminal illness becoming AIDS as a chronic inconvenience. What changed was middle class white males with health insurance through major corporations going to the beach and looking healthy (as long as you don’t look too closely) and appearing to be unimpeded by the disease.

    Hell, they even made a movie about how stupid it was to not have sex with a guy just because he’s HIV positive.

  15. JT says

    I think we should destigmatize and educate about prevention. There’s no point in making those already infected with the virus lepers. I think it’s harder to come out as HIV+ than it is to come out as gay.

    That said, I live in Seattle, a city where 1 out of 7 gay men is positive, and the ones I have to thank for educating me about the virus are those who have the courage to come out as positive. These are the people now leading the way in terms of educating my generation about AIDS prevention. The ones trying to keep me safe.

    No, contracting HIV doesn’t happen magically, but all it takes is one unlucky moment in time as a result of a wrong choice, and I think the majority of gay men have made at least one wrong choice in their life. Some are just luckier than others. I know men who have been infected because their long term boyfriends cheated on them and contracted the virus and passed it on unknowingly. Life happens. Coming out as HIV positive doesn’t increase HIV rates among others. I’d argue the opposite. For me, once I saw how many men were positive I took double precautions not to contract the virus. Destigmatization and prevention education aren’t mutually exclusive.

  16. Matt says

    That said, I live in Seattle, a city where 1 out of 7 gay men is positive, and the ones I have to thank for educating me about the virus are those who have the courage to come out as positive. These are the people now leading the way in terms of educating my generation about AIDS prevention. The ones trying to keep me safe.

    Are HIV rates falling in Seattle? I’m less concerned with what you think are the noble intentions of these people than with whether or not what they’re doing actually works.

    As other people have noted, destigmatization often seems to take the form of “being HIV positive is no big deal, you can still look hot, and if anyone doesn’t want to have sex with you, they’re discriminating against you! Serosorting is bad! We deserve access to the largest possible pool of sexual partners!” So yeah, I would say, in theory destigmatization and prevention aren’t mutually exclusive. But in practice, as we are actually seeing via our infection rates, they are. When you destigmatize something you get more of it.

  17. Paul R says

    Catching HIV isn’t actually all that easy, and it’s easy to know that you can’t get it if you don’t have unprotected sex with people if you don’t know their status—and even then, there’s a risk if they’re quite active.

    Guys eager to have anal sex when you’ve known them half an hour (if that) are red flags. So is almost anything related to online or app activity. That said, people with HIV don’t need to be condemned. I’ve made tons of terrible decisions in my life (but avoided HIV), and I know there’s no benefit in being judged.

  18. Matt says

    “Catching HIV isn’t actually all that easy, and it’s easy to know that you can’t get it if you don’t have unprotected sex with people if you don’t know their status—and even then, there’s a risk if they’re quite active.

    Guys eager to have anal sex when you’ve known them half an hour (if that) are red flags. So is almost anything related to online or app activity. That said, people with HIV don’t need to be condemned. I’ve made tons of terrible decisions in my life (but avoided HIV), and I know there’s no benefit in being judged.”

    Since possibly 30%, and some even say as many as 50%, of new infections occur while one partner is in the acutely infectious seroconversion period — before their body has produced sufficient antibodies to show up on an HIV test — “knowing your partner’s status” is not nearly enough. People who are seroconverting are too recently infected. The fact that this “know your status” message represents such a huge portion of “prevention efforts” these days is just example 1,385 of the uselessness of our approach to the disease. Getting people on the drugs does help, and it certainly lowers mortality rates and makes the deaths numbers look better, but it’s not NEARLY enough.

    Kudos for noting that “anything related to online or app activity” is a danger sign. But can you imagine actually taking that message to gay men as a whole. The outrage! The fury! One in five gay men are HIV positive? Yawn. Online/app sex is risky and a problem? YOU’RE THREATENING OUR SEXUAL FREEDOM AND OUR RIGHTS! We can’t even, 30 years after AIDS appeared, bring ourselves to close the remaining bathhouses!

  19. Matt says

    “Catching HIV isn’t actually all that easy, and it’s easy to know that you can’t get it if you don’t have unprotected sex with people if you don’t know their status—and even then, there’s a risk if they’re quite active.”

    What if you ask a person, and he says he’s negative, but he’s actually seroconverting? This is the *acutely* infectious period right after infection occurs, when the body hasn’t had a chance to make enough antibodies to the virus to show up on a test. I remember back as recently as the early 00s when the message was, assume *everybody* is positive. Because unless you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship and you trust the guy, well, he might be! The seroconversion period is so infectious that some estimate that up to 30-50% of new infections occur during this time.

  20. jw says

    amazing and sad that someone gets hiv in this day and age –
    he became infected sometime between 2000 and 2004 – according to the article and the linked piece on him from 2000
    just unreal and so sad
    according to the article he was surprised when he found out
    since he was aware of his own sexual activity
    was he unaware of how hiv is transmitted?
    he hardly seems like a role model for gay youth –

  21. Randy says

    Question for Towleroad. why the choice of words of “comes out as HIV-Positive”? No one comes out as cancer-afflicted, or Herpes-positive … if it is announced at all it is merely a disclosure. why the choice of words that relates so closely with the process only LGBTT go through of owning their identity?

  22. Sargon Bighorn says

    ADAM said that bathhouses should be shut down as ADAM thinks they alone spread AIDS and maybe other STDs. Oh ADAM honey you need to get out a lot more. AIDS is being spread faster right in the privacy of your home via all the online hook up sites. And there are plenty. Gay men are spreading STDs at home these days. NYC is a big “house party” city.

  23. Paul R says

    @Matt: I wasn’t suggesting that you can know someone’s status just because they tested negative last month. I realize that you need to wait probably six months if you really want unprotected sex and know the guy isn’t having sex with other people. Having unprotected sex with almost any gay guy you’re not in a monogamous LTR with is a risk, because sadly, many gay guys lie. Just like straight guys.

  24. Seth says

    Agree with JW above. This is really a disaster and at this point it is one that is entirely avoidable. This guy was out as a teen in the year 2000. He became sort of famous when he came out to his HS football team and they were surprisingly accepting. He quickly became involved in gay politics. He knew early on how HIV was transmitted, and he knew all about the resources available to help him stay safe, but he ended up HIV+ anyway.

    This is not anything to applaud or respect. This is a failing. What that failing is, I don’t know. Maybe it was a momentary act of negligence, or maybe it was a long-term pattern of disregarding his own health and the health of others. Whatever happened, it was unnecessary.

    As he has now come out as HIV+, his focus should be on helping young people avoid making the same mistakes that he made, not on glorifying his status.

  25. Mike says

    I think a big part of the problem is that for many gay males, it is perfectly normal to expect to have sex with a large number of strangers each year, and to have that be a lifetime pattern. That really isn’t normal for any other social or sexual group.

    A straight man might hope to bed a few women a year and during a limited period in which he “sows his oats.” Then the vast majority of men settle down with one woman. At that point, even the minority (about 20%) who cheat may only have sex with a few women post-marriage. But for gay men, especially urban gay men, it is perfectly normal to use bars, backrooms, or a computer app to find strangers to have sex with on a weekly or daily basis. And it is perfectly normal for this to continue for years, if not decades. That is why we wind up with nearly 1 out of 5 gay men in big cities as HIV+. That statistic drops all the way down to 12% when you average all the regions of the US, urban and non-urban. Ironically and sadly, non-urban gays do much better even though they are stuck in more homophobic areas, with greater “stigma”. The farther they live from the warped reality of the urban gay male community, the better their health. We should be less concerned about fighting “stigma” and more concerned about fighting a culture that tells us that Grindr is just a routine fixture in our lives.

  26. Matt says

    I think a big part of the problem is that for many gay males, it is perfectly normal to expect to have sex with a large number of strangers each year, and to have that be a lifetime pattern. That really isn’t normal for any other social or sexual group.

    It would be awesome for us to start reflecting on the really problematic business model of sites like Grindr, and the consequences for gay men’s health. If a class-action lawsuit against cigarette companies can go forward, I don’t see why one against these kinds of hookup sites couldn’t. Especially considered Grindr’s choice to promote a pre-exposure prophylactic for “when condoms get in the way”….

    That statistic drops all the way down to 12% when you average all the regions of the US, urban and non-urban.

    Hello Mike, (or anyone else), what’s your source for this statistic? I’ve seen other people mention it as well. However, the CDC says 20%, and I’m afraid I don’t see the 12% number anywhere. Can you (or, again, anyone else, give a source to the 12% number?)

    Ironically and sadly, non-urban gays do much better even though they are stuck in more homophobic areas, with greater “stigma”.

    Exactly. While homophobia is a serious problem, HIV rates among gay men are also, I hope people would acknowledge, a serious one as well, and the lie that they are a result of homophobia is simply an excuse to justify our unwillingness to change our own sexual choices.

  27. Seth says

    @Matt:

    Thanks for that. I would add that it isn’t just HIV either. Living in big urban areas, closer to the well-developed “community” created by urban gay men, correlates with higher rates of STIs generally, drug and alcohol use, depression, anxiety and suicide.

    This has nothing to do with being gay. It has to do with living a life focused on sex acts with people who don’t love you, or even know you. If we subjected a large cohort of straight people to the same conditions for a few decades, we’d see the same rates of disease and mood disorders.

    People need stable and meaningful social connection. They need a place in their community, a role that they understand. And they need love. A life revolving around hook-ups doesn’t provide any of that. It is the equivalent of having 2000 Facebook friends but being utterly friendless in IRL. We can do better than what we have now. We shouldn’t be afraid to think about better ways to live as gay people.

    There are going to be a lot of comments soon huffily protesting that any criticism of promiscuity and loveless sex is “internalized homophobia.” But that can only be the case if promiscuity is an inherent feature of being gay. The people who think that attacking Grindr is the equivalent of gay bashing, implicitly believe that gay men are inherently drawn to loveless sex with multiple partners. In other words, they believe – to a T- the lies that the Christian Right has been telling about us for years. They are the true self-haters.

  28. EchtKultig says

    “This is not anything to applaud or respect. This is a failing. What that failing is, I don’t know. Maybe it was a momentary act of negligence, or maybe it was a long-term pattern of disregarding his own health and the health of others. Whatever happened, it was unnecessary.”

    I agree. Tell it like it is! The gay community needs its own version of “We Gotta Do Better”.

  29. KTSA says

    I agree with the level-headed sentiments expressed by Matt, Adam, Kevin, JW, Seth and EchtKultig. And for what it’s worth, I’m poz myself.

    Maybe it’s time to start a “Keep the Stigma Alive” project.

  30. paul says

    Just another gay guy who was either promiscuous in his early years or was irresponsible and had unprotected sex. It brings his judgement into question. He is young and had TONS of information about the risks.

  31. peterparker says

    It never fails to surprise me how easily gay men will attack and demonize other gay men for contracting HIV.

    Good for you, Corey Johnson, for being open about your status!!

  32. steve says

    I’m going through a bit of a promiscuous phase at the moment – however, I don’t use drugs, drink, or EVER have unprotected sex. In fact, I was in a relationship for 3 years and we didn’t have unsafe sex even once. I just feel like…if I’m sober and using condoms…is having sex with guys form Grindr wrong? It certainly feels wrong sometimes but I’ve had some fun – with of course pangs of post-coital regret. I’d rather be in a relationship but I feel like I’m settling for hooking-up at the moment.

    Otherwise, I personally think it should be the law that gay bars & nightclubs have condom dispensers and even lube dispensers… I think it’s irresponsible these bar owners are getting young gay people drunk (and profiting off it) while not providing any safeguards whatsoever for their clientele.

  33. Tyler says

    Hi, I was careless even though I knew all the facts about HIV/AIDS and how it is spread. Basically, I just didn’t give a damn, but now I want you to elect me so I can be responsible for your tax dollars.

  34. Craig S says

    Anybody who would use a person’s HIV status to attack them as an individual, and their fitness or lack thereof to hold political office, needs to be slapped upside the head repeatedly.

  35. steve says

    I briefly dated a guy who was HIV+ and I think him being open about his status probably saved me from getting HIV in the future – just because I knew it was such a real thing – meeting him and watching him struggle with it made it so real for me. I credit him for why I’ve been so safe about sex in my life and why I’m negative almost a decade later.

  36. soothsayer says

    If someone in good health began to overeat, became obese, and developed health problems like diabetes, would we congratulate that person for talking about it openly?

    After all the work my generation did to raise awareness of the dangers of HIV and the ways to prevent its transmission, it’s sad to see that message lost on a younger generation. It’s not rocket science why younger people are seroconverting. It’s because they’re not taking the sensible precautions everyone knows about, i.e., condoms. HIV may now be more of a “chronic” problem than the death sentence it was two decades ago. But that also means a lifetime taking costly medications, many with unpleasant side effects.

  37. tagg says

    It’s not “easy” contracting HIV…unless you are being unsafe. People make choices in life. I turned 18 in 1982 just as the epidemic was making news. I didn’t need someone to drill into me how to be safe. 38 yrs later and I’m still Neg. BY CHOICE!

  38. Dave says

    Well, though some of you have a very narrow idea of how dialogue and openness can help us ALL, I’m so glad Corey took this brave step. There are so many people in this city who are HIV-positive… and so few who are willing to talk about it in public. HIV has retreated into the shadows, and people living with it who are able to, are socially pressured to keep quiet about it.

    By not talking about it, by acting as though the only people who have it are the ones unable to conceal their symptoms (usually due to a lack of adequate care), we let the stigma against being positive persist and grow, and we continue to surrender another generation to HIV. Infection rates have been surging among teenagers and young adults, and it’s in no small part due to the lack of honest discussion of sex, risks, HIV, and STD prevention.

    People who are up front and direct — yes, “out” — about their status set a positive example against all those guys out there who have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with their partners. People who are out about their status are much more likely to be honest about the reality of living with HIV, which is NOT the cakewalk implied by all the big glossy ads in gay publications. People who are out about their status can tell people to get tested regularly because it’s NOT the end of their lives.

    It’s a tricky line to walk, between not scaring people away from getting tested and treated, and not lulling people into a false sense of no consequences. But it sounds like Corey is walking that line in exactly the right way!

  39. Dave says

    Oy vey to all the people “tut-tutting” about how he should have known better, and had “poor judgment”. I’m sure all of you showed nothing but excellent judgment in your sex lives in your early 20’s. I’m sure you always used protection, even with your boyfriends you loved and were convinced you could totally trust (which, by the way, is how a LOT of these young guys are getting it). I’m sure you never had a condom break.

    I’ve had accidents, and I’ve even done some incredibly stupid things when I was in a spiral of self-destructive depression, and am still neg. I’m lucky.

    I was heartbroken when a kid I was mentoring found out he had HIV. He’d only ever had sex with one person — his first boyfriend, whom he’d been with for four years.

    But no, let’s all condemn his lousy judgment! Oh, we holy few who have never slipped up, had an accident, or trusted the wrong person! Such things could never happen to US! *eye roll*

  40. Mike says

    Thank you Corey for being open and honest about your life. Only through open dialogue can we change views, behavior and lives. We ALL make mistakes. Just because you may have had a few fast food meals, does this mean you should get cancer and be ridiculed? Many make good arguments concerning hooking up but we, mostly, have all been there and mistakes were made in the heat of passion. Hell, some of us are here on Earth because our parents made mistakes. Enough with the finger pointing already.

  41. ratbastard says

    If you use a condom you’re risks of contracting HIV and AIDS is VERY slim. If you’re a hardcore ‘bottom’, well those are the risks you take.

    Most people contracting AIDS today are:

    Injecting drugs

    Engaging in very risky, unsafe sex. Some of those poor folks are desperate souls who must hustle for a living, usually due to drug addictions.

    And then there’s dudes who ‘bareback’, engage in risky sexual practices, refuse to wear a condom. The very high prevalence of recreational drug use and substance abuse among gay males doesn’t help the situation. I on no way look down on such people, I’m a flawed human being myself with vices, but of all the groups who contact HIV and AIDS, they are the most troublesome to me. You play with fire, you’re gonna get burn if you keep it up long enough. Your odds will catch up with you. The other two groups I mentioned are just plain sad. Life is hard.

  42. ratbastard says

    If I ever run for public office, I’m gonna come out as allergies positive. Dust, cats,ragweed, pollen, you name it, I’m allergic. Have to take antihistamines year round. Maybe it’ll help garner the sympathy vote.

  43. says

    When NBA player Jason Collins came out and said he was black and gay he not only broke a barrier for professional athletes, he established himself as a role model for gay black kids, no, actually for black kids, period. I see Corey’s courageous move, establishing himself as gay and HIV+ as equally important for kids and young people who are HIV+ and in doing so, he is now a role model for all. This is a unique opportunity for Corey and for the media to help further educate people about the myths and reality of living day to day as an HIV+ individual. I had the privilege of working with Corey many years ago, and calling him my friend. He is a genuinely caring and giving person, and there is no one better than he to carry this torch.

  44. Keith says

    A generation or two ago when people got something like cancer, no one wanted to talk about it. Now it’s ok to talk about it and get support for it. Which is great. But that doesn’t mean that people with cancer would say to someone else with cancer “hey, it’s not such a big deal”

    Any life-threatening disease is a big deal. We should all try to avoid them as much as we can, and be there for people who don’t. Some diseases we bring on ourselves (Adult onset diabetes by eating too much and not exercising enough), lung cancer (from smoking), and HIV (from having unprotected sex). Even then, we should still encourage people to avoid them when possible.

    I grew up in the generation when AIDS was emerging, fortunately in a rural area that it never got near, at that time. I’ve been too scared of it to take the chance on being unsafe, no matter how many treatments there are now. Because we have those treatments, I guess a lot of “kids today” feel that it’s not a big deal. They didn’t live through the fear.

    I hope we don’t have to through all of this again.

  45. Ain't it Funny says

    Shouldn’t Corey be open about “how” he contracted HIV? I mean, there is this prevailing, um, “story” about the poor guy who had “one” accident or the guy who’s boyfriend cheated on him or some other “once in million” things that happen to innocent souls.

    Um, I live in New York and there is a HUGE meth problem and sex party bareback scene and all kinds of similar scenes. Not to judge but it does matter if a political figure got HIV through no fault of his own as opposed to whether he was using meth, picking up tricks at the local book store or playing pass-around-party-bottom at the meth party. Running for office is a big deal and I want to know what kind of judgements my elected officials make…the gay one included. I think “how” he contracted HIV in 2013 makes a difference. Sorry if people are offended.

  46. my2cents says

    what disturbs me most abut his story is this:
    “Mr. Duane told me he phoned Mr. Johnson not long ago to talk about the campaign, asking him first, “How are we going to handle your H.I.V. status? Have you told your mother?”

    this is called ‘getting in front of a story’ the intent of this NYT ‘disclosure’ fluff article was beating his political competition to the punch.

    there was also too much of a layering of Tom Duane’s history; if you read too quickly (just ask howard kurtz), you might confuse the ‘no handshake’ scenario with johnson.

    and the aspect of not sharing his status with his family, pre- and post his father’s and other relatives passing… well, that just proves his interest in and suitability for politics.

  47. bravo says

    Are we back to ranking HIV-positive on a guilt scale? Children born to HIV infected mothers. Then blood transfusion/clotting factor victims, although most have already died. However, if the blood transfusion was for elective surgery, then they move into a tie with the next category. Sexual assault victims. Don’t you see how ridiculous this is?

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