Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He has served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 1, 2005.
Topic: HIV/AIDS in the Gay Community
Neil Giuliano: I think it’s a health issue that certainly affects more than just the LGBT community, and something that we—there still needs to be fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of what’s going on in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I mean, if you look at—especially for my organization, GLAAD was founded by individuals who stood up to the New York Post and other news organizations in the very, very early days of the AIDS crisis when their coverage was clearly defamatory, and as those men got together and said the newspaper is covering this story terribly, they’re using language that’s terrible, it’s unacceptable. And they realized that when they went to the newspaper and talked about that, the newspaper said, oh, perhaps you’re right on this, and they modified some of their language. And that’s the early birth of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. And there’s still work that has to be done within the media with regard to covering the HIV and AIDS community, with regard to the way the disease is being treated, with regard to the way the disease is being transmitted. And I think even within our own community, to focus on the LGBT community, we do need to take responsibility for behavior and for actions and do as much education as we can.
Question: What effect have advances in HIV treatment had on the community?
Neil Giuliano: I think there have been some who have been lured into a false hope with regard HIV and AIDS because of some of those treatments. And so then again the burden is on us to communicate as much as we can and educate people as much as we can, especially those who are young in the community, who don’t remember the early days and don’t remember the amount of tragedy that existed very visibly on a regular basis, as so many in the community were dying off because of their infections.
Recorded on: Mar 4 2008