Health director disputes Sen. Stacey Campfield's AIDS claims
"It's very difficult for a man to catch it from a woman through vaginal sex unless they are of a high risk group, people from Africa, Haitians, IV drug users, prostitutes, things like that," Sen. Stacey Campfield said.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) is back in the national spotlight after an interview on The Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM's OutQ satellite radio station.
Campfield is backing legislation, nicknamed the Don't Say Gill bill, to block teachers from discussing homosexuality in elementary and middle school classrooms.
"My understanding is that it's virtually, not completely, but virtually impossible to contract AIDS, outside of blood transfusions, through heterosexual sex. It's virtually impossible," Campfield said on the show.
Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, says that's not true.
"Anyone who's having intercourse with other people, and more than one person, they're at risk for HIV and AIDS regardless of their sexual orientation," Dr. Buchanan said.
Campfield explained to 6 News on Friday what he meant by his remarks.
"It's very difficult for a man to catch it from a woman through vaginal sex unless they are of a high risk group, people from Africa, Haitians, IV drug users, prostitutes, things like that," he said.
In the radio interview, Campfield also said he believed AIDS was transmitted to the human population through a man having sex with a monkey.
Buchanan said that too is false. "HIV did come from monkeys. We know that. And it resulted from the hunting of those monkeys in Africa and then exposure to the blood of the monkeys that had been killed," she said.
Citing the website The Road to Emmaus, which is run by a Reformed Episcopal Church priest in California, Campfield also said in the radio interview, "What's the average life span of a homosexual? It's very short."
Buchanan again disagreed. "As the top health official in this county, I worry when anybody gets up and publicly gives misinformation about any public health issue," she said.
Campfield did get to talk a little about his pending legislation during that satellite radio interview. He says it's important teachers don't discuss homosexuality with children because it might influence a confused to child to become gay.
6 News asked a member of a local gay advocacy group to weigh in on that.
"Who in their right mind would chose to be gay in this society, especially with people like Stacey Campfield? We put up with ridicule every day and we're not accepted," said Sandy Huneycutt, a board member of the East Tennessee Equality Council.
Campfield's Don't Say Gay bill passed the state Senate last year. It's set to go before the House in February.
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