Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The LGBTQ Community and Ronald Reagan

The Failure to Act: Discrimination, Death and AIDS

Personally, I know very little in terms of politics and law. However, in terms of politics and presidency, I find it interesting to delve into the views and opinions of certain communities when it comes to something important that strongly effected that community. In this case, I looked up the AIDS epidemic that spread across the US during the 1980s, killing thousands of people in the process and how because of President Reagan's stubborn morals (and likely religious views) the disease was ignored for 5 years. 
                  The AIDS virus was first recognised 1981 by a health centre reporting a strange immune system disorder to five homosexual men in Los Angeles, CA. By the end of that year, 422 cases of the illness had been reported, 159 of those cases had resulted in death. Despite the rising number of deaths due to the disease, Reagen still denied the danger that Americans could face and refused to acknowledge there was any
issue. AIDS had become a deadly disease associated with the gay community and because of this, many strongly religious communities decided to overlook the illness, brush it under the rug and deemed it as a punishment to those who committed sodomy and behaved immorally. 
                   In 1982, it was made known that AIDS could be passed through heterosexual relations as well, though this didn't chance the public's view that connected the disease to the gay community. The US government continued to ignore the growing threat of AIDS. Help for those diagnosed with the disease didn't arrive until 1985 when the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved AIDS testing, but which point 22,996 cases of AIDS had been diagnosed and 12, 592 had ended in death. It's disgusting to think that thousands upon thousands of Americans were happy to let their fellow American die purely because a book told them that his or her sexual orientation was wrong. 
                    AIDS had swept the nation and the Reagan administration recognised that they could no longer go without addressing the epidemic. Reagan finally acknowledged it and for the first time used the word 'AIDS' in a speech given in 1987. And so the journey of picking up the pieces after years of doing nothing began, though the help given was still very limited. By the end of that year, 71,176 people had been diagnosed with AIDS - 41,027 had died.

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