Sociological Reactions to Hiv/Aids in the 80's, 90's and New Millenium

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Sociological Reactions to HIV/AIDS in the 80's, 90's and new Millennium

In the early stages of identifying HIV, it was first believed that only certain individuals were able to become infected. This group was known as the 4-H group: homosexuals, hemophiliacs, heroin addicts and Haitians. The stigma of HIV was that it infected people with promiscuous or unclean ways. Jerry Falwell, a televangelist, fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor and conservative cofounder of the Moral Majority, became a known voice in the oppression of those with HIV disease. One of his famous quotes was, "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." The hate he preached, along with the rest of the Moral Majority and the Religious Right, started to seep into American culture and turn otherwise normal and resonable people into hate mongers with their own prejudices against those with HIV disease. Although former President Ronald Reagan was notoriously quiet about the AIDS epidemic during his presidency, his right-wing advisors were able to make their views on HIV disease known far and wide. This ignorance would cause ordinary Americans to turn on Ryan White and the Ray brothers - innocent young victims of HIV.

Ryan White contracted HIV in 1984, when he was 13. He was a hemophiliac who had acquired the disease after surgery to remove his lung. After he recovered, his mother was told that he was not allowed to attend school anymore. Even after the state Department of Health said it was safe for Ryan to go to school, the people of his hometown fought tooth and nail to keep him out. The school superintendent banned him from attending school, fifty teachers voted to keep him out of school, and parents of other students signed a total of 117 forms threatening to sue if he was allowed in school. Eventually the Board of Education ordered Ryan to be allowed to go to school. When he finally did go back, almost half of the...
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