Barbara Solow, The Durham Independent
When staunchly conservative U.S. Senator Jesse Helms announced that he hadn't done enough in the fight against AIDS, many in North Carolina's AIDS services community thought hell just froze over. After all, says Barbara Solow in
The Durham Independent,
his confession that he was ashamed he'd done so little sounded contrite. Helms had been outspoken in blaming AIDS victims and he had a 20-year record of opposing money for AIDS research, as well. While it seems he may have changed his tune, Helms dodged the point that he still sees AIDS as a moral issue. His new position could mean money for AIDS programs, but only for those that fight the spread of infection through a campaign of biblical values. When asked to explain his new position, Helms suggested his views had been shaped by his friendship with Bono of the band U2. They met in September 2000, reports Solow, when Bono managed to bend Helms' ear by citing Bible passages that urge Christians to help the afflicted.