Helms Tells Christian Conference Attendees He is ‘Ashamed’ for Not Doing More on AIDS
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) yesterday vowed to keep HIV/AIDS on his agenda for the rest of his term, saying he was "ashamed" that he had not done more to fight the AIDS epidemic, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. Helms -- who has previously "clashed" with gay AIDS activists over AIDS funding and statements he made "blaming" homosexuals for the spread of HIV -- told participants at the "Prescription for Hope" conference sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief group headed by Rev. Franklin Graham, that he had been "too lax too long" on HIV/AIDS. Helms did not mention homosexuality in his speech but "praised" Janet Museveni, Uganda's first lady, for her anti-AIDS campaign, which he said is founded on "biblical values and sexual purity." He added that his own efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS "paled in comparison" to those of Museveni (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/20). In 2001, Helms supported legislation that authorized $700 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/14/01). Helms is set to retire in 2003 (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.