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The Never-Ending Story

The Never-Ending Story


Despite initial moves that gave the appearance he would try to disband the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS after his inauguration, President Bush has appointed seven new members'all Republicans'to the advisory council this year. One of his most controversial new new appointees, though, Jerry Thacker of Reading, Pa., drew such widespread criticism that in late January he withdrew from the council less than a week after his appointment was reported by the media. Thacker, a fundamentalist Christian who was infected with HIV in the mid 1980s by his wife, who herself contracted the virus through a blood transfusion, has characterized AIDS as a 'gay plague' and works as a public speaker, giving talks on 'how Christ can rescue the homosexual.' He also frequently refers to homosexuality as a 'sinful death style.' In contrast to Thacker is another HIV-positive appointee, Don Sneed of Dallas. Sneed's organization, Renaissance III, passes out condom information in clubs frequented by young gay black men. 'Most people don't wait until marriage for sex,' Sneed says. 'We have to meet people where they are. You can't have abstinence or safe sex to the exclusion of the other.'

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