Detroit Mayor, Mayoral Candidate Should End Their ‘Deadly, Shameful Silence’ on HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) and former Detroit Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix, a Democrat who is challenging Kilpatrick in the upcoming mayoral race, "have been AWOL" on the issue of HIV/AIDS, and they need to end their "deadly, shameful silence" about the disease, columnist Jeff Gerritt writes in a Detroit Free Press opinion piece. "The two men who could do the most to spread the word about this incurable but easily preventable disease have, instead, played it safe politically and punked out," according to Gerritt. Kilpatrick did not attend the city's annual AIDS Walk, while Hendrix's "voluminous campaign Web site fails even to mention AIDS," Gerritt says. Given that 40% of Michigan's 16,200 HIV-positive residents live in Detroit and the epidemic's impact on black people, who make up 80% of Detroit's population, "Kilpatrick and Hendrix must talk plain and straight about it," Gerritt says. The two could help eradicate stigma and hate "simply by extending their hands and lending their voices to those living with the disease," he writes. AIDS organizations need more funding to help fight the disease, and "they also need a leader who will make people comfortable about getting tested and asking for help," Gerritt writes (Gerritt, Detroit Free Press, 8/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.