As we read about and discuss the history of the american aids epidemic in class, my students — all reagan babies, born between 1981 and 1985 — are often dumbfounded when faced with simple facts.
Excerpts from the truth about reagan and aids by michael bronski, for the surviving victims of the conservative social and economic policies of the reagan-bush era, the past few days of all-reagan-all-the-time television coverage by stepford journalists have seemed oddly and horribly familiar. It was taken during a protest of the food and drug administration, the organization that failed to take immediate action during the aids crisis that ripped reagan-era america apart. Clinton’s mistake on reagan is an opportunity for action on hiv/aids by scott skinner-thompson and carolyn mcallaster angelica tome does a chalk drawing of a red aids ribbon on castro street on december 1, 2015 in san francisco, california.
The administration increased aids funding requests from $8 million in 1982 to $265 million in 1983, which congress bumped to $44 million, a number that doubled every year thereafter during reagan’s presidency finally, the claim that reagan spoke about aids sufferers with “disdain” is simply a smear. First reported in the medical and mainstream press in 1981, it was not until october 1987 that reagan publicly spoke about the aids epidemic in a major policy address by the end of that year, 59,572 aids cases had been reported and 27,909 of those women and men had died.
Reagan would ultimately address the issue of aids while president his remarks came may 31, 1987 (near the end of his second term), at the third international conference on aids in washington when he spoke, 36,058 americans had been diagnosed with aids and 20,849 had died. If there is an upside to hillary clinton’s recent misstatement regarding the reagans’ record on hiv/aids, it’s the opportunity the incident offers to point out that many of the problematic reagan-era policies related to hiv are still on the books, endangering thousands of lives despite progress in medical research and community advocacy, hiv persists as a significant threat to public health.
One of the first celebrities to advocate on behalf of people living with hiv and aids, taylor was the founding national chairman of amfar (american foundation for aids research), a nonprofit organization that supports aids research, hiv prevention, treatment education, and advocates for aids-related public policy.
In fact, reagan talked about aids as early as sept 17, 1985, during a nationally televised press conference, when asked about the disease by reporters, according to a transcript located june 8 by longtime aids activist and blogger michael petrelis.
Response to aids perhaps the greatest criticism surrounds reagan's silence about the aids epidemic spreading in the 1980s although aids was first identified in 1981, reagan did not mention it publicly for several more years, notably during a press conference in 1985 and several speeches in 1987. The reagan era and deregulation the year1981 also brought about a new president of the united states, ronald reagan after defeating an aloof jimmy carter, reagan swept in by offering americans a charismatic personality while advocating tax and budget cuts. Aids became the tool, and gay men the target, for the politics of fear, hate and discrimination reagan's communications director pat buchanan argued that aids is nature's revenge on gay men.