Skip to comments.Obama Gets HIV Test, Fights Kenya Stigma
Posted on 08/26/2006 6:52:22 AM PDT by jdm
Sen. Barack Obama and his wife took HIV tests before a crowd of thousands Saturday at a clinic in Kenya in an effort to battle the fear and social stigmas that have slowed progress in fighting the spread of AIDS.
Thousands of people gathered around the tiny mobile clinic in Kisumu, western Kenya, to see Barack and Michelle Obama tested for the virus that causes AIDS.
"If you know your status, you can prevent illness," Obama, the only African-American in the Senate, told the crowd. "You can avoid passing it to your children and your wives."
Some 1.2 million of Kenya's 32 million people were infected with HIV in 2004. Obama and his wife did not make public the results of their instant tests, but the senator said "we probably wouldn't be smiling" if the results were positive.
Some 700 people die each day from AIDS-related illnesses in Kenya, most in the west of the country, though the numbers of infected patients have declined recently.
In the Kisumu area, almost one in five is infected.
Obama said the country's government has done a better job than many others in Africa of acknowledging the problem and discussing solutions. But people's reluctance to be tested has slowed progress.
Thousands of well-wishers lined pot-holed roads to greet Obama as he began a journey to his ancestral home, Nyangoma-Kogelo, a tiny village in the rural west where his father grew up herding goats and attending tin-roofed schools.
Police held back the crowds and local politicians called for calm as Obama visited the AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis clinic run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
"I just want to say very quickly that I am so proud to come back home," Obama told the cheering crowds. "It means a lot to me that the people of my father, my grandfather, are here in such huge crowds."
His father, also named Barack Obama, won a scholarship to a university in Hawaii, where he met and married Obama's mother. The two separated and Obama's father returned to Kenya, where he worked as a government economist. He died in a car crash in 1982.
This was Obama's third visit, but his first since being elected a Democratic senator from Illinois in January 2005. His last visit to Kenya was in 1995.
Obama said he was looking forward to seeing his grandmother and uncle, who still live in the village, but that the trip was more than just a family reunion.
He said his relatives "understand that some of this is going to be dominated by spectacle, and they'll roll with it as I will roll with it."
He also planned to visit a project he helps fund, which helps grandmothers find money to take care of children orphaned by AIDS.
An empty Clinton-ish gesture. If he or his wife know that they don't have HIV, what is the signal? To not be worried if you don't have HIV? Well, if you think you might have it, then you might not want to be revealed (in that culture).
What an oink.
Obama's test came back positive for infection of acute liberalism.
I think the point [without reading the article] is that AIDS tests are safe and a good thing to do. He's leading by example. [Every once in a while, a member of the Democrat Party does something good--even if only by accident.]
I thought he was elected by the voters of his state to do a job for them in Washington.
Bet he brought his own needle and syringe!
AIDs in Africa is another scam to get money from the U.S.
Well, sure. The US is evil. Only its money is good. Everybody else wants that money.
This is typical DIM'S hype..they are grooming this guy for a White House run down the road.
I would agree with you. I find it hard to fault him for this. I wish every single member would do this. Show people that no matter how slight you think the chance of you having HIV is that you should good tested. Take some of the stigma away from HIV testing. I think more widespread testing would help to reduce the HIV/AIDS rate in this country. It certaintly would help in Africa and I think it good that he set the example in an African nation. I despise the mans politcs but even a blind mouse finds a bit of cheese every now and then.
And the point is?
Did he leave the facility in an SUV?
Which brings up the topic of population control and the role his Mau Mau father had in controlling Kenyas population.
We're paying you to take care of the USA. Get back here and leave that other nation to make their own choices.
If this joker wants to be a missionary he should resign from the Senate and go. Why the heck are we paying his salary if it consists of going to Kenya and taking HIV tests? His efforts would be better spent in urban Chicago, Philly, Detroit, or DC!
Look for Obama to be Hillary's VP
i think this is a real positioning, that the fact that "Obama's paternal grandfather, Onyango Hussein Obama, was one of the first Muslim converts in the village." is the real message...JMO
since his grandfather and father were both muslims, doesn't that make him "mulsim" by muslim protocol?
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