AIDS = Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
June 5, 1981
CDC releases Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report discussing 5 cases of an unusual lung infection in 5 gay men living in Los Angeles.
Turns out, these 5 men suffered from AIDS which allowed their suppressed immune system to contract a rare form a pneumonia.
Ronald Reagan and the AIDS Crisis
Thesis: The Reagan administration's failure to properly address and treat AIDS in America exacerbated the effects of the disease and therefore strengthened the gay rights movement.
April 2, 1987
"But lets be honest with ourselves, AIDS information cannot be what some people call 'value neutral.' After all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don't medicine and morality teach the same lesson." -Ronald Reagan
American Foundation for AIDS Research Awards Dinner 1987"America faces a disease that is fatal and spreading. And this calls for urgency, not panic. It calls for compassion, not blame. And it calls for understanding, not ignorance. It's also important that American not reject those who have the disease, but care for them with dignity and kindness. [...] This is a battle against disease, not our fellow Americans. [...] We must firmly oppose discrimination against those who have AIDS. We must prevent persecution, through ignorance or malice, of our fellow citizens" -Ronald Reagan
- Of the 90,000 homeless men and women in NYC, 8,000 had contracted the fatal disease.
- An additional estimated 400,000 New Yorkers tested positive for HIV and were expected to contract AIDS.
- In New York alone, an estimated 130,000 - 180,000 people with AIDS needed alternative housing. The state was only able to provide 66 beds for their care.
Strengthen the Gay Rights Movement
Image 1: "All People With AIDS Are Innocent" Gran Fury, New York 1988Image 2: "One AIDS Death Every Thirty Minutes" ACT UP, New York 1988
ACLU, amFAR, ACT UP
Public Health Issue