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Ron Paul, Chris Wallace Need AIDS Education

In his 1987 book Freedom Under Siege, current Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) wrote this about people with AIDS: "The individual suffering from AIDS is certainly a victim, frequently a victim of his own lifestyle, but this same individual victimizes individual citizens by forcing them to pay for his care."

In a January 1 interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Paul was asked if he still supported that position and basically said yes. Wallace then asked him if people with AIDS should be denied health insurance. Paul said no, but he directly implied that people with AIDS should pay more for their health insurance.

Paul points out that smokers are often asked to pay more for their health insurance, which is true. What he fails to see is that the smoking comparison doesn't really apply. Should the people who did not acquire HIV through unprotected sex pay more? Most people who acquired HIV through unprotected sex (like myself) did not intend to be harmed. Most people who smoke do so fully aware of the health risks. By Paul's logic, it seems to me that he should be in favor of higher health care costs for all people who have had unprotected sex.

Paul's beliefs notwithstanding, perhaps the most appalling thing in this interview was how Wallace asked Paul about health insurance for people with AIDS: "Congressman, do you think someone who suffers from AIDS should not be entitled to health insurance as opposed to, let's say, somebody who has a homo, heterosexual transmitted disease?"

Wallace committed many no-nos with this question. On style, enough with the "suffers from AIDS" phrase, please. Saying "has AIDS" is sufficient, thank you very much.

Just to back up my annoyance, here's the entry on AIDS from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) stylebook:

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a medical condition that compromises the human immune system, leaving the body defenseless against opportunistic infections. Some medical treatments can slow the rate at which the immune system is weakened. Do not use the term "full-blown AIDS." Individuals may be HIV-positive but not have AIDS. Avoid terms such as "AIDS sufferer" and "AIDS victim" because they imply powerlessness. Use "people with AIDS" or, if the context is medical, "AIDS patients."

On substance, Wallace made an even more egregious error. By saying a "heterosexual transmitted disease" (I'm sure he meant "heterosexually"), he directly implies that HIV is essentially a gay thing. His slip up of including "homo" before "heterosexual" seems to underscore this belief.

Obviously gay people are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, but the virus does not discriminate by sexual orientation. Wallace should know better. All journalists should know better.

Watch the interview (AIDS comments begin at 3:08):

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Comments on Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.'s blog entry "Ron Paul, Chris Wallace Need AIDS Education"

Wallace works for FOX News. Surveys have found that not listening to their news provides persons with a more informed view than listening to their disinformation point of view. Enough said? Do you hear me now?

Considering Paul's views, considering he is an M.D., I am now more convinced that we all live on the galactic prison planet.

Thank you! You are welcome!

The smoking comparison does apply-- to a greater extent than you think.
You may not have intended to be harmed by having unprotected sex, just like smokers don't intend to catch lung cancer by smoking, but-- just like with smoking-- there are health risks associated with having unprotected sex that I'm sure, you were aware of before you had unprotected sex. Just like smokers.

by that logic dan, there are many other risky things that exploit society like using cellphones, drinking coffee, a poor diet, no exercise, using the stairs, crossing the road, taking prescription pharmaceuticals, going skating, etc. etc...

also, the person who wrote this did not get HIV from unprotected sex.

ron paul is an old man with old ideas. alot of them are good. i agree that the government needs to lay off on this issue and let the markets correct it. i'm sure he knows that HIV/AIDS is a massive industry and that the medicine is ridiculously overpriced. he wasn't given enough time to explain himself. i also agree that alot of people do take advantage of the system, aids or no aids.

Let markets correct? No. This is the classic case against markets because the correctional curve is too great. In other words, trusting the markets to correct the HIV care problem(s) would cause such harm as to violate our basic values as a society. Which is why Ron Paul will never be POTUS. Or Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain or Rick Perry.

The GOP is a frightening, self centered political threat to the United States and all the progress we have made in human rights. There is a total disconnect from the real world we live in. I was infected as a 15 year old child in the 80's not long after HIV was still called GRID. We knew almost nothing about it. A test for antibodies did not exist until 1986. So, does Ron Paul and other Republicans think I should not be allowed to live, and try to make the best of a horrible nightmare that stole my youth... my life. Who is Ron Paul to determine who lives or who dies. Which diseases should be allowed medical care? The GOP always wants a scapegoat, and it is always the Gay community or those of us infected with HIV. Why are they so filled with hatred and disdain, yet they say they espouse Christian values? They should reread their bibles about Christ's compassion and His commandment of "love thy neighbor."

I 'm with you there - there are consequences to our actions and even Condoms are not 100% guarantee, but they certainly reduce risk. As a highly sexually active gay man in the early turn of the century, I always made sure I and my partners used condoms. But even so, there by the grace of God go we (condoms break, someone "forgets" in the heat of the moment)... there also is a point to be made in that there are other ways a person can contract HIV, such as receiving a blood transfusion from an infected source, or prenatally from an infected mother to offspring. Should those individuals have to pay higher health insurance premiums? I hope and pray with the trial release of the HIV-vaccine this month, this will no longer be an issue. Until then, keep using condoms and we won't have to worry about it!

while I think Ron Paul's message is screwed up and I believe the GOP is out to destroy all gay people I have to disagree with you on one point. you say that smokers are aware of the risks but continue to smoke. this is true of people who have unsafe sex. you say that you didn't intend to be harmed by having unsafe sex but in reality the risk is there and anyone having unprotected sex is aware of this.

True, but I also understand his point that smokers are often asked to pay more for health insurance regardless whether or not they ever experience any adverse side effects from their smoking, due to the POSSIBILITY of risk to one's health

Thus, anyone that engages in unprotected sex submits themselves to the POSSIBILITY of risk to one's health albeit a smaller risk for some then for others a risk none the less.

So his point is anyone that engages in behavior that posses a potential risk to one's health such as smoking or unsafe sex should have to pay more for health insurance.

Pay more no problem end job discrimination via the Insurance Black ball lists that when a company tries to add an individual to there health plans comes back with we will but you will have a Percent increase in your group rate. Once you lose Health insurance and your POZ forget ever getting another well paying job with health insurance, then in order to get health care your forced into the hoop jumping nightmare of seeking alternative like Hospital charity programs, Ryan White grant, ADAP, or just let it kill us. Out of contact with real life issue legislators like Paul are the biggest problem this nation has. McCain's 5000 tax credit on taxes for mando Insurance last time around, Health insurance would have eaten my total gross yearly income. I am 24 years Positive, when I went POZ I had a good job real good health insurance when the offshore corp bought a US manufacturing facility my job pisadered and I have not been able to get a better job since or private health insurance

Very simple. You need a Canadian style national health-care system. Two of the tenets of that system are inclusivity and equality. No one pays more than a set premium for their health care in Canada, regardless of what they need treatment for. Those who are below a set income level have their premium adjusted downward. Those on welfare pay nothing. Everyone gets the same level of care in the same facilities. You need to fix your system. "Markets" (whose market? run by whom?) should not decide life and death issues. Obamacare was only a step in the right direction. You're not even close to being there.

The Republicans could run Jesus Christ as their Presidential candidate and they'd still have to pay off the bigots, ignoramuses and right wing fanatics who make up about one third of the Republican voters. Traditionally, one way they pay off these people is to put them in charge of public health, with disastrous consequences, e.g. abstinence only sex education, banning needle-exchange programs and initially, in PEPFAR, making anyone applying for PEPFAR funds buy HIV meds from US pharmaceuticals, charging 10 times as much per patient as generics available in the world market, effectively turning PEPFAR into a funnel for Republican-donating American pharmaceutical companies. Outrage eventually changed this PEPFAR policy, no thanks to people like Ron Paul.

This article frustrates me.. this man, frustrates me. I was raped in 2002 while serving in the government's US ARMY. I tested Positive for HIV following the attack. I don't deserve higher premiums... no insurance, higher medical costs.

When it comes to lifestyle choice illnesses, let's talk about obese children, diabetes, diet induced coronary artery disease...

It's like the death penalty... what about the one. What if you're wrong just once and you kill an innocent person... it's not worth it.

People like this will never get my vote.


Dan is right. Yes, there are many many things that people do every day that cause harm to their health or the health of others but our society has gotten so narcissistic that nobody cares about anything but what they 'want' and what 'feels good'. It doesn't seem fair that those who are not so self absorbed be penalized by paying higher costs for healthcare because so many people don't bother to even try to be healthy and live right.

The thing is gay people are not the only people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners. I will say that you should be aware of the risks that could come with unprotected sex but to say that smoking doesn't fall into that category is unacceptable. Just like people know that they can develop cancer from smoking, people know that they can contract HIV through unprotected sex. Ron Paul should not be limited his views on higher health care costs to just HIV positive patients, but should apply that law to all people who engage in any kind of risky behavior.

Of course Ron Paul worships at the feet of Ayn Rand, to the point that he named his son after her (Rand Paul). This should speak volumes about him.

Are we headed toward "innocent victims of AIDS?"

Using his "logic," since I have no children, I shouldn't pay taxes for education now should I?

When you are wealthy, it seems so easy to pontificate about how much others should pay for things.

Corporations are amoral entities with one goal and one goal only, to make money. Unregulated and unbridled capitalism will run over the masses to make a buck. There's no such thing as the "free market" taking care of its self. It will always take advantage of the masses. The definition of capitalism is that the very, very few becomes very, very wealthy, off the backs of the very, very many.

Ron Paul and his Republican ilk would like a return to the guilted era, where you only have the obscenely wealthy, and the obscenely poor.

but the question to Ron Paul was specific to HIV- I'm sure if given time he would have included all risky behavior.

Many of the health issues that Americans face today are brought-on, to a certain extent, by the life choices each person makes. The person with diabetes often contracts the disease because of issues related to their diet. Which is also a major contributor to heart disease and obesity. Obesity is directly related to heart disease, increased cancer risks, increased risk of development liver and kidney problems, as well as issues like COPD and arthritis. If we applied the logic you offered, then everyone who contracts or is dealing with any sort of illness that might have been brought-on by personal choices should, in-turn, face higher insurance premiums. Such a notion would most likely be more acceptable if those who contracted illnesses because of personal choice were a minority of society. However, they're not ... they're basically in the majority.

What's important when it comes to HIV is not how someone contracts the illness. What is important is that the person be able to get into care. And be able to afford it. Dr. Paul's opinions, like your own, are very clear reasons why health care in America should not be rationed on the basis of individual wealth. With all due respect to the richest in this country ... and to those who might feel they've contracted HIV through no fault of their own ... my life, the lives of everyone, are just as valuable as the next person. To believe otherwise should be offensive to our shared humanity.

See the problem here is yes all of those things are bad as well and I think dr Paul would agree those are also hazardous at times whatever, the difference is to us it wouldn't matter because the government would have no say because the government should not e providing health care, what you then chose to do in your private life and how much you would have to pay to your private insurer or doctor is your own problem.

I think some on here have not researched what causes higher health cost. As a person who negoticated heath care cost each year for a fortune 500 was number of employees with cancer, number with heart problems and finally number of HIV employees. Remember it was percentage of working group, the number of employees using ER for minor issues and then continued raising of medical and drug cost across the board. The percentage of HIV/aids was so low in equation. It was cancer treatment and heart issues along with rising medical cost that caused and is continuing to cause the increase. Even if you were to take the HIV people out of the equation.... The costs would rise at the rate as they due now.
So Ron Paul needs to investigate before answering a crazy question as Chris Wallace asked!

Dr. Paul's position is not based on hate or ignorance; it is based on a philosophical belief that people should not pass their costs on to others. Now, I do not agree with him 100% on this issue, and believe in 100% access to health insurance; but he was technically correct, as far as he went, about smokers paying higher premiums. And in spite of your arguement, the smoking analogy IS quite apt: You didnt intend to get HIV by your sexual activity, and smokers dont intend to get canvcer by their activity either. I'm an HIV pozitive gay man, and I will be voting for Ron Paul in 5 days in the NH Primary.

Some of you guys really want slam the GOP and conservatives don't you? How about the skeletons lurking in Obama's closet... Ezekiel argued for limiting health care for “individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.” He cited "not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” as an example.

Referencing Ayn Rand? Really? Get off your damn liberal soap box. Aids is a-political. The a is for a**holes and they exist in both parties.

It seems to me that Republicans in general want to increase fees, and or cut services, for the people that can least afford it. They fight to keep the tax cuts for the wealthy and fight even harder to cut Social Security benefits. I am disabled, not because of HIV, but because of depression and being bipolar. My gross income is $1800 a month and I pay $350 a month in insurance premiums. My income is too high to receive any assistance other than for my meds. Our state goes by gross income, so if I have to pay more in insurance then my net income would put me in the poverty level, but I still wouldn't be eligible for any type of help. This country can not afford to have another Republican President. Look at the mess our last Republican president left us in.

With this argument, anyone that chooses to not be vaccinated for the hpv virus or has unprotected vaginal sex, even if with a spouse, should pay higher rates as well since these are the main causes of cervical cancer.

So much talk about choices relating to consequences and health care. If contracting HIV is a result of a choice, which it is sometimes, then it is a result of being human. Just as addiction is an aspect of being human. Denying health care because it is the result of being human is inhumane. As a society we value civilization and being humane. Ron Paul's talk of making those with HIV pay more is essentially saying we will punish you for your choice - for being THAT type of human. And that is uncivilized and inhumane.

Granted, there are those such as Ron and Rand Paul who put greed above our common societal values. Greed is good in their view and it is to an extent. But again, as a society our values encompass more than just economic prosperity.

Greg H. is correct. The Paul's do worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand. And if we're going to talk about Paul and his views on HIV, it is worthy to speak about Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand's notable work is 68 and 54 years old. She emigrated to the US from Russia in 1926. Her view is in the context of the Russian Revolution. She was quoted in one interview as saying that all government is bad. To extrapolate that view one might conclude she believes in anarchy. And really, when you get right down to it libertarians really do believe in a form of anarchy.

So Paul and his brand of libertarian Republicanism is pretty wacky and therefore, almost irrelevant. If you nail him down on fraud, that is, what to do about fraud in the markets, he will tell you to not regulate or enforce those firms and that the market and/or the civil courts will correct fraud more efficiently than the police or Department of Justice. The civil court system is efficient at weeding out fraud as per Ron Paul.

Hence, Ron Paul is almost irrelevant.

What about people with Diabetes? I'm sure they didn't intend to get Diabetes when they consumed all that high sugar/ high refined carb food. Should those people pay more for health care too? or is Mr. Paul trying to say that people with HIV are somehow victimizing others by forcing them to pay for their care more than say someone with Diabetes or heart disease, or a smoking related illness.


If you really think HIV is 'a-political' you're living in another universe.

Republicans only believe that an unborn fetus has rights and should be protected and should be born even if genetic testing determines all sorts of defects that their parents would then look to the government to fund it's care for life via SSDB, etc. If you have already been born, however, and contract an illness and you happen to be gay the scenario is, of course, much different. In Africa and other third world countries it's a Human Rights issue but in the good old US of A it's a gay issue. There is hope though since the USA is on the fast track to becoming a third world country.

I knew Ron Paul was a moron and bad for America but WTF what a jerk next hes going to say people that have mental illness that they need to pay more what a jerk

that made up my mind on who NOT TO VOTE FOR

And this man is running for President ....dear Lord help us !
The idiots come out of the woodwork, CONTINUALLY !

If ONLY everyone could be as SMART as Dan.
This is a very un-intelligent comment sir, obviously your under 20 years of age or just not well educated.

First things first. Lesson 101 in HIV and AIDS. Its the same disease just different stages of it. Nobody ask to contract HIV. Being a HIV positive young female this seriously ruffles my feathers. I was married for almost a decade and contracted the disease through my husband that decided to have an affair on me and not protect himself and then proceed into raping me. Should I not deserve a right to live because of his actions. How many married individuals make there significant others wear protection. Very few if any. Ron Paul you should be ashamed of yourself. Women and Men are raped, Children are born with this. There are more straight women being affected by this disease today than any other race or gender. Food for thought. What affects the human race affects everyone. Less blood supply, Less organs that can be donated due to infections. If this disease continues at the current rate this will affect everyone in the long run. Just b/c your married with children do not believe that this is beyond you. The more money they fund to find a cure or a vaccine will help stop this epidemic. I pay my own health care. I work everyday. I do not receive government assistance and never have. Continue to live in a bubble and maybe one day you will wake up and realize that this can affect anyone. Ron Paul you will never get my vote.

What about people who eat fast food? It's not healthy and causes serious problems. Do we make them pay more because it is their choice to do so? How about people who don't exercise? We KNOW its good for us, but if we chose not to exercise, should we pay more for insurance? Who will police the public and their eating and exercise habits? Who will pay for the policing? It's a slipperly slope, Dan. Think before you speak.

I am just hiv =] for only % year now and how i got it was through my ex who di dnot know he had he has aids we were together for 17 and 1/2 years i didnt leave him cuz he gavhivor he has aids i left him cuz i had a 2cm tyumor on my right lung snd her waswnt health enough to take care of the both of us

I am too appalled to read comments just from the few I scanned. This is the very reason why people don't disclose. Instead of making comments here we need to contact him and let him know how ignorant and judgemental he is. I wonder though did he ever screw without a CONDOM?
Any person with any sense knows that there are many people out there who did not knowingly put themselves at risk. What about children who are born with HIV and people who are raped or forced to get injected with HIV tainted blood.

I hope yall realize that Obama must be put back in office. For as the reccession, read clinton's book. Who's to really blame.

So why don't people with cancer or diabetes pay more? Same for the blind and the same for anyone with a horrible disease. These people are suffering enough and are on their deathbeds so how are they supposed to weork and pay for the exorbitant medications and what not involved with this horrific disese?

Ron Paul is really a Libertarian and his comments reflect his core values of limited government and free markets. To charge some consumers more for health insurance makes since from a strictly business standpoint in that health insurers are in the business to make money and people with HIV/AIDS cost more to insure than those who don't. Would Ron Paul have that viewpoint if he or someone in his family had HIV/AIDS and couldn't afford or obtain health insurance? Probably not!

One possible solution to the lack of affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS are the health pools that are run by many states. For example, eligible residents of California can apply for coverage through the state’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program run by the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board.

How about getting big insurance companies along with big government out of the healthcare business since both have caused the cost of healthcare to spiral out of control? Insurance companies are in the business to make money and they only want to cover healthy people because sick people decrease their profits. Big government programs that insure everyone are expensive and eventually result in the rationing of healthcare. Look at Communist countries like Cuba where everyone has healthcare but it's almost worthless since health care is rationed and those who are sick often don't have access to life saving medicines. Many of us would like to go back to the old days before healthcare insurance and big government programs when everyone paid cash for their healthcare and medicines. You could determine what a medical procedure actually cost and what medicines actually cost without the subsidies from insurance and government. My grandparents spoke of a time when medicine and healthcare was actually affordable. Doctors even made housecalls!

Big insurance companies and Government ARE the health care industry! Yes, we would all like to go back to a time when the doctors made house calls and medicine was affordable. Then again, back in the day if you had a Staph infection, they would just lop off the offending appendage or tell your family to start planning your wake! Without the government subsidies and insurance meddling, we would not have the wonderful medications and research that we have today and while it sounds wonderful to go back to "Little House on the Prairie" Days, I doubt you'd think that when Half-Pint died from complications of a simple procedure because they didn't have life-saving antibiotics on hand. They are both necessary evils. The issue is to strike an equitable balance.

The rationing that you speak of is often called Triage in most circles. Those that don't require immediate care are not put to the front of line. Of course there needs to be an amount of regulation and interjection from the government otherwise - like ALL businesses - the goal of profits exceed the human factor.

Dan, there is something very, very wrong with a person who would bring their sero snobbery onto an HIV website. Everyone with HIV knows that the road to infection is rarely as reductive and blameworthy as "choosing to have unprotected sex", as does virtually every negative person who doesn't have their head completely up their ass.

There are two ways to see people with HIV. The first is the republican approach, where we are expendible sinners who deserve to die. The second is a libertarian approach, where the free market happens to be the most efficient way to alleviate the pressures everyone faces, regardless of their HIV status. The republican approach is, essentially, a form of punishment. The libertarian approach is an analytical and philosophical appreciation of what the market can do. Paul clearly falls into the former category. In choosing to volunteer that we are "victims of our own poor decisions", he is making moralistic statements about the people who get HIV, and judging us in a way that the a true libertarian would not condone.

As a poz gay man with libertarian tendencies, I find Ron Paul to be a complete joke, and I find attempts to explain his statements away to be deeply offensive. He is not a libertarian, he is a republican. If he truly weren't a raging serophobe, he'd talk less about what "bad decisions" people with HIV have made, and more about how the free market would alleviate some of the problems we face. He would not accuse us of victimizing others with high health care costs, and would instead qualify his beliefs about free markets with explanations of how we are a captive audience with no choice but to consume antiretrovirals and medical care at a several thousand percent markup. He has not chosen to do these things, despite decades of political experience and the ability to say exactly what he means. His message is unambiguous.

Paul has chosen to deviate from the libertarian line of defending the market, and strayed into a judgments about a group of people. His apologists should drop their attempts to cast him as a defender of economic liberty, and see him as the uncompassionate, sanctimonious republican he truly is.

Just to piggyback on Andrew's reply to Dan. Dan your comment also implies your lack of discernment about how people contract HIV without any intention of self-harm, (i.e.) children born with HIV, or people who contracted HIV through transfusions. Yes, many of those people are still living healthy lives.

Let's not forget, women who have contracted HIV from their "down-low" partners, partners who themselves may be unaware of their own status. Or the many women who have contracted HIV from rape as it happens the world over. Or women who are victims of compelling poverty, who have little choice but to become sex-workers to keep their children alive. This happens, and I would bet that none of them woke up one day, and said to themselves, "Today, I'll go out and contract HIV!".

Moreover, very few, if any, people "intend" to become positive. Individual circumstances have to be taken into consideration. I'll posit further that even if one "chooses" to smoke, the intention is never to come down with lung cancer. Really Dan...rethink your stance.

Ron Paul's libertarian position is fragmented at best, and selfishly idealistic. Yes he is an old man with old ideas, however that's no excuse for his skewed, moralistic, and isolationist, viewpoint of a plague that is still misunderstood by many. His age has nothing to do with it. He' a dangerous man and gratefully, he will never become president. However I shouldn't be surprised if and when his "mini me", Rand Paul, runs for the position. Watch out for that one.

Since when is Ron Paul a DEMOCRAT? Jesus everybody and their blind mother know's his some hack REPUBLICAN trying to become president. Those same everybodies and their blind mothers also know he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in h*ll of winning...I see your journalism degree is hard at work here....

Jeff: Obviously Ron Paul is a Republican (although he is really a libertarian) and I have corrected the error. And thanks for being so polite in communicating with me about the error.

WELL THEN lets just deport all these
people sure, oh wait these are the types of people who fight the wars that keep this country free.
Ron Paul like any political person, has no idea how the world works at the level of the poor people who are the backbone of this country and every country.

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This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on January 3, 2012 4:21 PM.

Ronald Reagan and AIDS was the previous entry in this blog.

Homophobe Embraces AIDS Denialism is the next entry in this blog.

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