Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Reagan's And AIDs

I'm not sure if Hillary Clinton tripped up trying hard to say something nice about Nancy Reagan but as a Presidential hopeful you would have thought she would have done some fact checking before praising her for her HIV and AIDS work.
The AIDs epidemic hit in the early 80s and while the rest of the World shuddered at what was considered to be a potentially population decimating illness, the Reagan administration took the option of ignoring it.
Gay Rights in the 80's were almost non-existent and for many of a religious bent AIDs was portrayed as gay people being punished by God and as Reagan was beholden to the Christian right wing electorate, they seemed to back away from doing anything that would alarm their voters.
Federal funding for health and support groups in the gay community was denied and education efforts were curtailed as telling gay men how to have safe sex could be seen as 'encouraging or promoting homosexual activity'.
One soundbite from the time from Reagan representatives was that this was a legal problem, not a medical problem as 'these people were breaking the law' with reference to sodomy laws.
Either due to personal religious zealotry or an attempt to stay on side with right wing voters, it was not so much what the Reagan's did that should see them reviled over AIDS, rather what they didn't do which condemned 650,000 Americans to die from the awful disease.

No comments: