1981 July 3

First New York Times Article on HIV/AIDS


The first New York Times story on the HIV/AIDS crisis bore the headline: “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” and reported that “the cause of the outbreak is unknown . . . .”  The first Centers for Disease Control report on HIV/AIDS was published just a month earlier, on June 5, 1981. Within just another year or two, it was evident that a national health crisis had developed.

The administration of President Ronald Reagan, which was beholden to the Religious Right and opposed any policy related to homosexuality, did not embark on a program of research and public education regarding HIV/AIDS. Federal support increased under President George H. W. Bush and then even more so under President Bill Clinton.

Pressure for greater government support for research, education and services was led by ACT UP and other groups. See the events on January 4, 1982; March 10, 1987; March 24, 1987; May 4, 1987; and October 11, 1988.

Don’t miss: David France, How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of  How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS (1916)

Read the pioneering book on the AIDS crisis: Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic  (1988)

Study a timeline on HIV/AIDS: http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/aids-timeline/

See an Interview with author Randy Shilts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsUMFPvZ6w0

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