Hillary Clinton met with a coalition of AIDS activists yesterday in her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. The Democratic frontrunner sat down with with 20 leading educators, lobbyists and community leaders, including Treatment Action Group founder Pete Staley (pictured with Clinton), Housing Works president Charles King and Phill Wilson, CEO of The Black AIDS Institute. Staley reported on Facebook.
“We started about an hour late, but she stayed well beyond our budgeted 45 minutes—over an hour, in the end. A frank exchange. It was a first step in what we all agreed would be an ongoing process with her campaign. No surprise—she’s an HIV wonk.”
Activist Michael Rajner called the meeting “blunt, heartfelt and productive,” while AIDS Foundation of Chicago Ramon Garden hire said he was “truly impressed by her grasp of the nuances of HIV policy and healthcare reform delivery.”
After she credited Nancy Reagan for starting “a national conversation” about HIV/AIDS, left even ardent supporters scratching their heads, the pressure has been on for Clinton to turn that gaffe into something positive.
Clinton previously shared her strategy to tackle the spread of HIV, including reducing drug costs, expanding the availability of PrEP and investing in research and innovation.
In a statement after the meeting, HRC President Chad Griffin said the meeting
“underscores her commitment to do everything she can to help people living with and affected by HIV, and to work with us to end the epidemic and the continued stigma around HIV.”
Shortly after the meeting, Staley reported that Bernie Sanders’ camp had confirmed a meeting for May 25. Sanders had been widely criticized for canceling a meeting with AIDS activists with no explanation or attempt to reschedule.