The AIDS epidemic struck ten years before my birth, so it isn’t a topic I knew much about. It was mentioned in health classes throughout schooling, as a reminder to be careful around other students, as you do not know if they carry a bug that could hurt you. As far as I remember, we just equated this warning to cooties. This film, based on the book, And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts, has opened my eyes to world of public health, epidemiology, and the world’s reaction to an unknown health issue, publically, scientifically, and politically.
I never knew what a struggle it would be to understand an emerging, deadly, unknown illness. It shocked me to watch the constant roadblocks arise, mainly concerning minimal cooperation. People who showed suspecting symptoms were reluctant to receive help or provide information to help others. The man who became known as Patient X created confusion as to how it was spread sporadically across the country, popping up in several states hundreds of miles away. Attempting to gain funding for biological and sociological research was constantly being shut down or ignored by the government. Once the CDC had a logical proposal, the political affiliates and oppressors would reject their notions. Nobody else seemed to want to recognize this mystery as a serious epidemic.
Scientific research and its many methods were a strong force in handling this epidemic. The method of “what do we think? What do we know? What can we prove?” is the scientific logic behind their research methods and how they deem information important or credible. What they think can lead them to findings of what they know, but it won’t necessarily assist in what they can prove. It was most frustrating when they had strong hypotheses about the many causes of AIDS, but without credible, substantial proof, they could not present their findings.
If people all around me were dying of a mysterious illness and scientists said they had a hunch as...
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