QUEER VOICES
04/26/2017 01:11 pm ET

The C.E.O. Of H.I.V.

Last May, at the height of the Democratic presidential campaign, two weeks before the California primary, Bernie Sanders flew to San Bernardino, Calif., for a meeting with leading AIDS groups. The gathering was arranged by Peter Staley, the esteemed activist and founder of the Treatment Action Group, which in the 1990s helped speed the development of antiretroviral drugs. The meeting was called to secure the Sanders campaign’s support for a spike in federal spending to combat AIDS, but as the session began, those in attendance were puzzled to find the conversation oddly strained. Sanders’s demeanor, Staley recalled, “was very wary — he was very chilly when we shook hands.” Sanders seemed to be churning internally about something until, dispensing with ceremony, he blurted out: “Let me be blunt. Do any of you get money from the drug companies?”

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