The Odd Couple

Earlier, we reported provincial New Democrat caucus chair Jenny Kwan was "alerted" to emergency room cutbacks at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital by a physician who has previously defended aspects of the American healthcare system. But further investigation reveals that's not the only colourful comment Maria Hugi has made. In 1999, The Province reported Dr. Hugi, who caught tuberculosis from an AIDS-infected Burmese man, was calling for tougher medical screening of refugees: "My dog has more protection at the border than I do...We quarantine birds, dogs, cats, horses, anything green that comes across the border.'' Two years earlier, she made headlines when she slammed the federal government's decision to contribute $211 million towards AIDS research. The breast cancer survivor told the tabloid, "I've got a rotten body, I do everything to maintain it and it continues to let me down...and these young people come in with their beautiful bodies and they are destroying them...It's really got my blood boiling - $211 million for AIDS, and AIDS is a preventable disease."

In the same story, she was also quoted as saying, "Rather than pouring money into AIDS, let's look at what we are doing wrong in treating IV drug users...I think the reason the transmission rate is so low in Seattle is those people can't afford to do cocaine and heroin. Their welfare doesn't come to them in cash but in the form of rent vouchers and food stamps. The result is they turn to crack cocaine that you smoke and there are no shared needles.''


Dr Hugi will not be the first or last person to state the obvious and be chastized for it.

Although inflammatory to some, she raises some very important points about how certain "social" behaviors only exacerbate health problems for all of us.

Um, excuse me, but the Center for Disease Control (USA) and AMFAR sponsored joint ads last year on condom awareness, because of studies done in Boston and Miami which showed that a good portion of gay men in high risk cities were still not practising safe sex (this included a sub-study conducted in Ottawa)...condom awareness(???), we've only been at helping with this problem for twenty years, I guess they don't have televisions, or radios, or newspapers, and have never been to a funeral, etc!!! Tragically, millions have died of AIDS, and there are still those who chose to disregard the glove before any love. Not smart. IT is preventable. But, when the Pride Parade clearly showcases simulated promiscuity during at least 25% of it's annual production in Vancouver, what does that say about the same hypocrites who cry out for a reduction in the AIDS rate? If you are a critic of such idiocy, then you are labelled with the contrived slander of "homophobe", when in point of fact, you are not. "You can't comment on the Parade if you are not gay", I was recently told by a gay acquaintance. What a coward. Simply put, AIDS is not strictly a gay or straight disease, it affects all of us. And with thankfully relaxed sexual mores and the blended sexuality of some, AIDS becomes an issue for everybody. $211M should have gone towards AIDS education, not research because the hypocrisy is killing all of us.

As for Hugi's comments about welfare, who can argue there either? Other than to say that the provincial government are paying lip service to dealing with this issue. They and the NDP before them did nothing to harness the problem. The mentally challenged on the DTES are medicating with drugs and alcohol to forget their deeply seeded issues. Deal with their issues. Free drugs and maintenance of the status quo is sheer stupidity. But again, welfare reform is a tough job for the rubber chicken circuit. They are alos cowards.

It would be nice to see a politician come along who isn't afraid to speak up and act on promises to really help people, rather than maintenance of the ills that are currently hurting us as a society, and killing us--literally.

Dr. Hugi is quite correct in what she has said. But are we more interested in being politically correct or do we want to fix the problem(s)?

I agree! Why are we so afraid to face the truth? I have noticed the double standard in the GLBT community and it is very terrible. They can complain all they want. How come after years of AIDS education do we still need to explain to the older ones that unsafe sex is deadly? I agree with Green Lantern. Education to the young is essential, but the older generation should know better. It is a threat to everyone.

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