tv Tavis Smiley PBS November 27, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with phil wenders -- phil wilson. her almost dirty years wilson has been at the forefront of the national effort to stop the hiv- aids pandemic. we have an assessment of what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done. then we will d.l. hughley. he is hosting a new irreverent game show called "trust me: i'm a game show host." ♪
as the aids pandemic enters its third decade, it is no longer what it once was. we are told it is still relatively significant, in african-american communities. confronting this everyday is what he does. to see you. it is always good to see you. i am tired of having this conversation if you know what i mean. you have been living with hiv for how many years now? >> ernie for years. -- 34 years. >> that's amazing. ?hat do you make of it
>> i have lots of work to do. thatgetting time to get done. a lot of it is early i got involved. i kept up to date on the latest information. i have great doctors. to health care. don't?for those who >> there are countless folks who are not here. my rolodex is filled with people who didn't make it. there is no reason i should be still getting these calls. how has this gone from being a gay white male disease to being a black disease?
never a gayit was white disease. they say it was promoted as a gay white disease. it is driven by poverty. in the united states from the the beginning we are 25% of cases. today we are nearly 50% of the cases. there are a number of factors. we were slow to respond to the epidemic. and lack of access to health care. linked to soy is many things. it, thee who don't get linkage between poverty and hiv- aids. many people see hiv-aids as the result of a bad choice. what does that have to do with poverty? >> for people most often don't have access to health care. a most often don't have access to information.
a most often have to do maladapted tings just to survive. when people talk about poor choices, sometimes you choose to behave in a certain way because you need a place to sleep tonight. you choose to live a certain way because your children need to eat. connected in a very real way. informationall the seems to meist, it there has been such a preponderance about what the disease is, what it can do, and what it can do, that i am having trouble juxtaposing the amount of information out there with the increase in these numbers. how is that possible? theyople get stuck where
enter. a you got introduced to it certain amount of time ago, you get stuck there. by and large, aids has not been on the front pages, so people are stuck in the 80's and early 90's, but now it is a totally different disease. we have an opportunity and obligation, but people need the new information. if we can get the new information people will look at it in a different way. -- has notnot in been in the paper of late. autism has been. not not saying it should keep = be. nfl the players are wearing pink for a whole month. they are
doing a wonderful job on cancer. back in the 80's and 90's aids was the disease. what happened? how did it get pushed off the front ages? >> part of it is fatigue. secondly, in the early 1980's, the folks perceive to be the , and as thedid , these has gotten browner bully pulpit is not as loud for those populations. are talking about white gay men in the early 1980's, there is a certain sense of entitlement. them, theypened to said, this was not supposed to happen to us. for black and brown folks, for bad things happen to us
all the time. the amount of response is usually tempered because we are not surprised when bad things happen to us. tavis: that is a point people do not often consider. is the case we don't have larger than life megaphones many of our white colleagues are a few of us who have some platforms. what agency do we have that we are not taking advantage of to use the platforms we do have to get the message out as others being killed were by this disease? >> we are going to go there. i think black america drives culture in america, and other communities have utilized that to their advantage.
now the thing that i would ask -- we are in the end of the year, and there are all these films coming out about black subjects, and a lot of black artists are getting attention, so if we have black celebrities who would pay attention to this issue, i would say, give me a month, and we could turn this epidemic around. resources,ll the that would be huge. tavis: why do you think that isn't the case? >> at the difficult question. there is someone on our board who is a heterosexual man. people say all the time, i didn't know you are gay. he is not gay. because he took on this issue people think he is gay. there is a stigma. it really undermines the ability to address this issue,
particularly when we have an opportunity to make a difference. >> how do you read the potential ?f obamacare on this issue >> it is critically important for people with hiv. there are roughly one point one million americans. roughly 300,000 of us are eligible for insurance market voices. for all 1.1 million of us there are things in the health care act that are important. the fact that pre-existing conditions go away. be able to get health insurance because of the pre-existing condition. you might lose your health insurance. we have treatment so people with hiv can live as long and healthy as i am living. roughly 30% of the folks living with hiv are on treatment. only 25% are on optimal care, which means they have driven the virus down.
with the affordable care act, all those folks can be on treatment. not only will it be better for them. it is better for us. people with hiv are on treatment, they no longer have the ability to transmit the virus. tavis: i wonder to what extent the success we have had has become your enemy. when we see people like magic johnson living 25 or 30 years, to what extent does success end up in what you have to wrestle with? >> i think that is a challenge. the message i want to send is there is nothing special about me. if we can create an environment where they have access to treatment, all of us can be magic johnson, but you can do that unless you know your hiv status and people have to be ested or you are on treatment. >> finally to your point that
the blacker and browner things get the less they are on the front pages. give me some sense of how you are managing. >> these are difficult times. the government is pulling back. there is this notion of food. with blacknering entrepreneurs. we are starting a national raffle. are saying to our community, we can fight with our own resources. to enterviting people the raffle. not only do you have a chance to car, but youew have a chance to fight hiv at the same time. >> if it has to be done, i am glad you are doing it.
thank you. coming up, our conversation with the comedian d.l. hughley. stay with us. he refuses to be pigeonholed. his resume includes being a standup comedian and one of the founding members of the original kings of comedy. he now has his own radio show. he cohosts and irreverent game show. uncovering lies is the key to winning money. pizza first category is and video. i think that is a national pastime. during the clinton administration pizza hut was only company allowed to deliver to the white house.
>> bill clinton was an inspiration for the videogame character sonic the hedgehog. hedgehog is fat and brown. that would be like cee-lo green. is my dream job. you are a black man who gets to go on television and live for no reason, not in trouble for it, and get a paycheck. >> i could he of mayor. it looks like fun. >> it is fun. it is the only show of its kind. burnett did survivor. he did the bible. he finally got on, and we are
having a blast. tavis: the fun for you is what specifically? >> for me it is disseminating information. all kind of what i'd do. disseminating information and fooling people is a lot of fun. i have been fooling people who did not think i could read. i just listed some of the things, but you have tried a little bit of everything. how do you see this fitting into that d.l. hughley story? >> i know very little about a lot. interesting you have to be interested. there are so many things that happen. there are very few times in history that are so fluid, and things are changing so fast that you need, takes and authors and
people like yourself who are really documenting what is happening. this much information with easy access is so much fun. the times point about we live in, it is always nice to see you. we do talk. i am anxious to pick your brain about everything, because you do have such wonderful insights about the world we live in. do you find these times more interesting or more exasperating? >> i think it is a combination. lived in ahave never time when we were so aware of how fallible we were. you live in a time where a man got bullied by an answering machine.
that encapsulates where we are. we are teetering on the brink of collapse. article talking about the obama care debacle. they are saying it is much like issue.rina that is true if not being able to log on is as ad is being stuck in the superdome for days. people tryingany to shape the way we see it that it is really clutter. of shaping the way we see things, is it me, or ofwe concur the rewriting the obama narrative is happening before our eyes?
people always say they build you up, and then they tear you down. i said, they build you up to tear you down. mediathe rub against the in 2008 was that he had the media in his pocket, but that narrative is being rewritten. seems to me now they want to write a narrative where he is going to end up being a two-term jimmy carter, a failed president. >> i think you cannot put two- term and jimmy carter in the same sentence. i think the media is like society where we get tired very quickly. see great sports teams, and people say, i am tired of them winning. i think people get exhausted
with the level of success, and that can turn around and become your nemesis where people have seen you as successful. i say this all the time. but i willairvoyant, say it was one of the bravest pieces of governance i have ever seen where somebody risked so much for so little. people didn't want it. i don't know what will be the outcome of it, but i think it was an exercise in political bravery. how the narrative is going to be it will take years. i think it was a brave thing to do, and the idea that people are so opposed to it and so obsessing about the idea that it is a bad thing. nowhere in the civilized world is people having access to health care i came to hitler.
-- health care akin to hitler. inler wanted to put people concentration camps. obama wants to give pap smears. i don't understand. more americans have died of this than all the wars that have ever been fought. it is really more dangerous to live under our flag and to fight extend toat would everything. >> while i take your point that people can get bored with the , i think withers is -- thisam seeing is part of the narrative writing. it is the folk on the left who
are disappointed that this was not what they expected. i think you ain't got to be clairvoyant to see the writing on the wall. they are going to write a narrative that is going to try to make him a failed president. extent witho some what you are saying. we have always looked for symbols of success. he do a large part of the world was our diploma. he was everybody's saying, look how far we have come. he was as much a symbol to a lot of people as he was a president. they gave him a nobel peace prize on the assumption -- obama done killed a few people. i think there were all these ideas of what it would mean and
all these symbols. i think somewhere between who he is and who the political structure would allow him to be is kind of the truth. yes, there have been disappointments. >> you are right about that. tavis: what happens when the that blackeads people fared worse in every economic category during his tenure? how is that going to reflect? inherited at a time when it was on the client. i don't want to sound like an apologist. the last thing the most powerful man in the world needs is someone like me to tell him what
his problems are. the one thing i am reticent to is we can see all the things in play. america was in the klein for a long time. he cut the deficit at its highest point. happen, evenings if nothing happened in america, mine,ildren who look like they all of a sudden see themselves different than they had before. i think that has a value. how it lays out is anyone's guess. the sad thing about two-term presidents is the last term is about what they will put in their library. tavis: you can still find his tv show. you can still find him for standup.
>> we live in a country right now where it is harder to buy two packs of sudafed than 10,000 rounds of ammunition. when i look at aaron alexis, the man who shot the naval shipyard. he had a mental illness. his mental illness did not disqualify him from owning a gun but did not qualify him for help. things that many are ironic, that are so sad, that i owe his think if you look at it from an ironic vantage it a littlen digest more. it's a really funny time. i want to ask you a
question. workder if that line will in a bar. trust me, i am a talkshow host. >> when women know you have got a tv show, good things happen. >> congratulations on this new venture. that's our show for tonight. thanks for watching. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with shemekia copeland. that's next time. we will see you then.