Huckabee wanted to isolate AIDS patients
By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 22
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Mike Huckabee once advocated
isolating AIDS patients from the general public,
opposed increased federal funding in the search for a
cure and said homosexuality could "pose a dangerous
public health risk."
As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992,
Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by
The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee
suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS
research from their own pockets, rather than federal
"If the federal government is truly serious about
doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take
steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,"
"It is difficult to understand the public policy
towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of
civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague
have not been isolated from the general population,
and in which this deadly disease for which there is no
cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead
of the true health crisis it represents."
The AP submitted the questionnaire to both candidates;
only Huckabee responded. Incumbent Sen. Dale Bumpers
won his four term; Huckabee was elected lieutenant
governor the next year and became governor in 1996.
When asked about AIDS research in 1992, Huckabee
complained that AIDS research received an unfair share
of federal dollars when compared to cancer, diabetes
and heart disease.
"In light of the extraordinary funds already being
given for AIDS research, it does not seem that
additional federal spending can be justified,"
Huckabee wrote. "An alternative would be to request
that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth
Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more
AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own
personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS
Huckabee did not return messages left with his
When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common
knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual
contact. In late 1991, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention said there were 195,718 AIDS patients
in the country and that 126,159 people had died from
The nation had an increased awareness of AIDS at the
time because pro basketball star Magic Johnson had
recently disclosed he carried the virus responsible
for it. Johnson retired but returned to the NBA
briefly during the 1994-95 season.
Since becoming a presidential candidate this year,
Huckabee has supported increased federal funding for
AIDS research through the National Institutes of
"My administration will be the first to have an
overarching strategy for dealing with HIV and AIDS
here in the United States, with a partnership between
the public and private sectors that will provide
necessary financing and a realistic path toward our
goals," Huckabee said in a statement posted on his
campaign Web site last month.
Also in the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992,
Huckabee said, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant,
unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it
can pose a dangerous public health risk."
A Southern Baptist preacher, Huckabee has been a
favorite among social conservatives for his vocal
opposition to gay marriage. In 2003, Huckabee said
that the U.S. Supreme Court was probably right to
strike down anti-sodomy laws, but that states still
should be able to restrict things such as gay marriage
or domestic partner benefits.
"What people do in the privacy of their own lives as
adults is their business," Huckabee said. "If they
bring it into the public square and ask me as a
taxpayer to support it or to endorse it, then it
becomes a matter of public discussion and discourse."