I have kept my head in the sand for a lot of this political back and forth. Like a true American I am not going to take a direct stance, but will make sweeping generalizations of politicians and their parties.
Before reading this know that I was the prime age for the outbreak of the AIDS virus not in contraction, but in education. I was in the first middle school class where they were required to teach us about AIDS. I remember how uncomfortable the teachers were talking about it. I also remember how comfortable I felt because it was still widely accepted that gay intercourse is the primary way you contract it.
This is about the Reagan’s. Most people remember them in fond light, or read about them in and how they were great for America.
They set us back decades. I realize that people reading this might not have been born before AIDS was “discovered” so let me put it very bluntly. The Reagan administration directly refused to acknowledge it, provide funding for, or making it a priority because it was happening in the gay community.
It was first discovered in 1981, and patient zero had the worst probable job to try and follow a chain of infection. He was a gay international flight attendant. Imagine being in the CDC and seeing it pop up all over the world with seemingly impossible speed?
Move to 1983 there were 1,025 cases, by 1984 there were 4,177 cases. Yet not a word from the government, well I shouldn’t say that. Reagan’s director of communication Pat Buchanan said it was revenge for being gay.
The Reagan administrations first acknowledgement of AIDS was that it was punishment for being gay.
The Reagan’s didn’t acknowledge AIDS, even though the CDC was screaming and waving their arms saying “HEY WE ARE ABOUT TO HAVE AN EPIDEMIC HELP!” But the administration did not want to drop a dollar to help their own citizens because they were gay. They only acknowledged it when famed movie star Rock Hudson contracted the disease.
The worst part is that it was still believed to be gay related when young male hemophiliacs were contracting it through blood transfusions and were treated like sexual abuse victims. Destroying families because according to the news it was only affecting homosexuals.
In the movie “And the Band Played On” Matthew Modine gives a passionate 20 second speech to government officials. They were only meeting with the CDC because now you males were contracting it through blood transfusions. The sad part of this is that cost benefit argument has only grown larger in the medical field.
Oh, the correct answer to his question is one.
If you want immediate and factual response to this disease just look where miseducation gets you…people in various countries of central Africa believe having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. When I was in Kenya their were signs in the airports and in cities that said “AIDS IS A PROBLEM USE A CONDOM” to warn visitors how rampant it had become.
If you want to get the best representation of how this epidemic occurred but don’t want to read? Watch “And the Band Played On”. It the most factual representation of the debacle.
I am dumfounded that people legitimately think AIDS started with a man having sex with monkey and/or chimpanzee. No, it is called the “cut hunter” infection. We share a lot of diseases with apes because we are so closely related. A hunter was most certainly butchering and infected ape and had cut himself in the process allowing blood to blood transition.
Now don’t even get me started on Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign.