Florida Congressional Candidate Comes Out As HIV+

Bob Poe, former state Democratic party Chair and currently running for Florida’s 10th Congressional District, shared with the public an (until now) private part of his life: that he is HIV+.

From the Orlando Sentinel reports:

Poe, 61, said he was diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS in 1998 and is currently in good health. He revealed the diagnosis in an interview with Watermark magazine as well as a video posted to his Facebook page. “I have a motto in my life: If you want to make a difference, you have to be the difference,” Poe said in the video. “And so today, I’m trying to be that difference in this community, so that we can begin to solve this problem once and forever.”

In an interview, Poe said he felt compelled to reveal his diagnosis after encountering a recently diagnosed HIV positive woman while canvassing in District 10. “She told me that she’s recently been diagnosed with HIV and thought she had a death sentence,” Poe said. “I really just wanted to hug her and let her know that I, too, have HIV and that I’ve been able to live out all of my hopes and all of my dreams, and she could, too.”

Poe hopes to be an advocate for HIV prevention in Congress, but he has other focuses as well. He supports a $15 an hour minimum wage; job training to help Americans adapt to a changing work environment; and wants to work to change the criminal justice system to be more fair .

You can watch his “coming out” message, via Facebook, below: