Another reader e-mail in response to my critiques of Huckabee’s 1992 statements about AIDS (see here and here):
I’m an epidemiologist of infectious diseases and microbiologist (did my dissertation work on TB) and have worked in the medical field for nearly 30 years. There was a fair bit of concern about modes of transmission of HIV back in the mid 80s but it was pretty clear even from the beginning that it was blood borne and far less transmissible than other blood-carried viruses and did not long survive on environmental surfaces (as does the hepatitis virus).
While TB is a wonderful model for isolation of patients with highly contagious diseases, it is transmitted in the air by the simple acts of coughing and breathing, so is only useful as a model for similarly transmitted diseases. AIDS takes a bit of work to transmit. The more operative model would be gonnorhea or syphillis and our way of dealing with those being transmitted is reporting and partner notification to break the chain of transmission. . . . as Governor, Huckabee should have had access to this information through some advisor or he was poorly served indeed.
Update: I should note that Huckabee was not Governor, but a candidate for U.S. Senate, when he made the offending comments. If that excuses his initial mistake, it would not excuse his failure to clarify or recant the remarks today.