Gay Congressional hopeful comes out as HIV-positive
A Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida has revealed that he is HIV positive.
Bob Poe is bidding to be the representative a candidate for Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
Poe, who tied the knot last year with long-term partner Ken Brown, revealed this week that he is living with HIV in a video posted to Facebook.
The 61-year-old said he has been diagnosed nearly two decades ago, in 1998, and was healthy thanks to early diagnosis and treatment.
He said: “I’d like to share something with you today. Something I’ve only shared with a few family members. 18 years ago I was diagnosed with HIV.
“I’m perfectly healthy. Doctors tell me that in all likelihood, I’m going to die at a ripe old age of something very normal. But that’s only because I got tested and diagnosed early and began a series of treatments.
“Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because I ran into somebody in the community a few weeks back, and she told me that she had been recently diagnosed with HIV. She thought she had a death sentence.
“I told her that she didn’t, and even shared with her where she could go to get the resources that she needed.”
Mr Poe, the former chair of the state Democratic party, continued: “But I really just wanted to hug her, and let her know that she wasn’t alone, because I too had HIV. But I was still hung up in the fear and the stigma that surrounds this condition.
“Now it’s time to come out and share this with you publicly, so we can begin to have this discussion, and remove the stigma and the shame that goes with this.
“It’s those things that keep people from getting the diagnosis and the treatment that they need to live perfectly healthy lives like I have. I have a motto in my life: If you want to make a difference, you have to be the difference.
“Today I’m trying to be that difference, so that we can begin to solve this problem once and forever.