Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan, have agreed to be tested for HIV in a move the senators hope will remove some of the stigma from HIV testing.
TCV reports that at a World AIDS Day conference in California next month, two potential 2008 presidential rivals â€“ Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan. â€“ will each take an HIV test and encourage others to do the same.
To reduce stigma around the test and publicize its value, “I’m happy to offer my body for science,” Brownback said in a telephone interview Friday.
“People need to get the test,” he added.
Obama press secretary Tommy Vietor said, “If two United States senators can do it, then everyone else can too.”
The senators will take the test Dec. 1 as part of a two-day “Global AIDS Summit” at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, which sponsors the annual conference.
Obama and Brownback are to be commended for exceptional courage by being so transparent and open. Those qualities are often lacking in politicians, which can cause the voting public to lose confidence in our leaders and institutions.
While these two senators have taken the plunge into a bold new world of openness, the American people would be well served if all politicians would slither from behind their facades and into the light of day for public scrutiny–wherever that might lead.
Remember that congressional approval ratings have plummeted to all-time lows. Some voluntary openness might help to upgrade the esteem in which the general public holds members of congress.
To wit, with some rigorous honesty, hard work, and smashing of egomania, most congress folk should be able to achieve a public image at least as positive as incarcerated pedophiles, grave robbers, mainstream media reporters, and other untouchables.
As a start, much could be gained by having some very public luminaries submit to public testing, and by making test results public knowledge.
John W. Lillpop is a recovering liberal, “clean and sober” since 1992 when last he voted for a Democrat. Pray for John: He lives in the