Tag Archives: AIDS

Why we shouldn’t be scared of ‘The Test’

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14:  Prince Harry has blood taken by Specialist Psychotherapist Robert Palmer as he takes an HIV test during a visit to Burrell Street Sexual Health Clinic on July 14, 2016 in London, England. Prince Harry was visiting the clinic, run by Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation to promote the importance of getting tested for HIV and other STDs.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Harry takes a HIV test during a visit to Burrell Street Sexual Health Clinic.  Prince Harry was visiting the clinic to promote the importance of getting tested for HIV.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images).  Click here to read about Harry’s fight against HIV and his mother, Princess Diana’s Visit to LASS in November 1991. 

Some people think taking a HIV test is scary, but honestly it shouldn’t be. The condition is entirely manageable.  If you test positive, early detection, monitoring and effective treatment means that your life can largely carry on as before.

Incredible medical progress has been made in the last 20 years and HIV treatment is now very effective. If you are diagnosed with HIV before it has damaged your body and you are put on effective treatment, you can expect to live as long as anyone else.

HIV treatment aims to lower the amount of HIV in the body to undetectable levels. Global research, known as the PARTNER study, has found that HIV cannot be passed on when the virus is undetectable. In other words, if someone is on effective HIV treatment, it is extremely unlikely that he or she will pass on HIV to anyone else.

This is a massive breakthrough. It means that if everyone with HIV were on effective treatment, we could finally stop the spread of HIV. Until then, it is essential to use condoms to protect yourself.

For some people the idea of being tested for HIV is as simple as making a note in a calendar, an entry which sits comfortably beneath a dentist appointment and above a mother’s birthday. For others, the idea of making that appointment, or taking that long walk to the clinic, is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences they can imagine. However, in an age where the numbers of people diagnosed with HIV are increasing, has our natural fear of the unknown become a luxury we simply can’t afford?

Many years ago it was a scary disease. We called it AIDS and it became a name associated with sin and death. The massive number of infections, particularly in the gay community, were staggering, and as the death toll slowly crept up, nations across the world panicked. It’s impossible for any society to come through such a dark time and emerge unscathed, and so the fear of a silent killer left a scar on our cultural memory which has never really healed, and even in 2016, the mere mention of HIV and AIDS still has a way of stopping conversations.

Thankfully, things have changed since then and treatment for HIV is better now than it has ever been. People who have the condition are now finding that their lives have not changed completely, and they are still able to live as long and do all the same things they could before. It’s true that they now have a few additional concerns to think about but with the help of medication, HIV is now manageable.

HIV is no longer the death sentence it used to be and people are able to live, healthy and happy lives like they did before. However, this is thanks to the amazing progress we have made in treating the condition and we can only begin to do that when we make the decision to get tested and keep on top of our health. Late HIV diagnosis in Leicester is 13.8% higher than the average for England.  It’s a scary prospect to some and no one takes that for granted, but by taking the chance to be tested, you could be buying yourself years of life.

GET A HIV TEST AT LASS

Our Rapid HIV testing service is available Monday-Friday between 9am – 4pm.  You do not need an appointment.

The test is performed at our office on Regent Road, Leicester by qualified and experienced HIV testers.  The process usually takes around 20 minutes.  If you’re unsure, or would like to speak to someone about HIV Testing, please call us on 0116 2559995 or pop in and see us.

The test is free to ‘at risk groups’ and always confidential.  If you’re not at risk, we can refer you to an alternative service who will be able to provide you with a free HIV test.  You can still test with us for £20 or you may prefer a free Home Sampling kit or buy a Home Testing kit from BioSure for £29.95.

Other places which can test for HIV

SHACC (Sexual Health and Contraceptive Clinic) in Leicester.  They offer information, advice and screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) as well as HIV in GP settings.  For more information or to book an appointment Phone 0800 75 66 277 or visit shacc.co.uk

St Peters GU Medicine Clinic provide Free, confidential services including STI testing including HIV tests along with A full range of contraception including Post Exposure HIV Prophylaxis – PEP/PEPSE Tel: 0300 124 0102 or 0800 318 908 or visit them online at leicestersexualhealth.nhs.uk

Trade Sexual Health offers a rapid HIV testing service for LGB&T individuals.  Contact them on 0116 2541747 or visittradesexualhealth.com for more information.

There are lots of places where you can get a HIV test if you’re unable to use services in Leicester or Leicestershire.  Visit NAM, they have an online portal which can help you find a service in your area.

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Nine ways funding for the global HIV response could go further

 A young girl living with Aids takes her drugs at her home in Ndiwa, western Kenya. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

A young girl living with AIDS takes her drugs at her home in Ndiwa, western Kenya. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Story via The Guardian

1 | Protect and promote human rights

Public resources are wasted on enforcing laws that criminalise HIV transmission and dehumanise at-risk populations. By contrast, laws that protect at-risk populations are powerful, low-cost tools that help ensure that financial and scientific investments for HIV are not wasted. Enacting laws based on sound public health and human rights will ensure new prevention and treatment tools – such as PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis], male circumcision and microbicides – reach those who need them. Changes in the legal and policy environment, along with other interventions, could lower new adult HIV infections to an estimated 1.2 million by 2031 (compared to 2.1 million if current efforts continue unchanged). Mandeep Dhaliwal, UNDP

2 | Make drugs cheaper

One way to make limited funds go further is to challenge drug companies on the high price of life-saving drugs. The use of unmerited patents by pharmaceutical companies to secure monopolies on their products must stop. Make Medicines Affordable is working with civil society to challenge unmerited patents and useTrips agreement flexibilities. Julia Powell, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

In lower middle-income countries, the average antiretroviral (ARV) treatment cost for a new adult patient is around $350 [£283]. Of that, just 40% is the cost of the ARV – 35% is non-ARV recurrent costs (clinical salaries, laboratory etc) and then 25% is programme management. We really need to dissect non-drug costs and find ways to reduce costs with regard to generic licensing and optimising manufacturing costs. Anand Reddi, Gilead Sciences

3 | Support LGBT groups

There are some great new global funds supporting funding for local and national LGBT groups so that they can gather data on access to medicines for their community, in a way that ensures their confidentiality and safety. The Rapid Response Fund, funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF), the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and UNAids, will support civil society organisations that are led by, or work closely with, MSM [men who have sex with men] and LGBT people and communities, to implement rapid responses to situations or events that threaten their access to HIV services. Grants of up to $20,000 [£16,000] are available. Mike Podmore, STOPAIDS

4 | Support adherence to ARVs

Drug resistance is a huge issue and one to which we are only just waking up. The World Health Organisation has produced a 2017-21 action plan which, I think, underlines that we have neglected to focus on adherence and support people not just to access ARVs, but to stay on them. Mike Podmore

5 | Integrate HIV into health sectors

Finance ministers tend to think in terms of sectors (eg health) or a clusters of sectors (eg the social sectors – education, health, social welfare), rather than in terms of individual issues like HIV. We need to integrate Aids financing into domestic health financing and make the argument to finance ministers that they need to increase investment in the social sectors, and health in particular. We need to underscore why this is an important investment in human capital and, therefore, in economic development. David Wilson, World Bank

6 | Collect and spend taxes on health

Some countries with major HIV epidemics have actually progressively reduced the share of the government budget they allocate to health, and many African countries with major HIV challenges collect a smaller share of GDP as revenue – and spend more collecting that small share – than comparable economies elsewhere. We must ensure that a significant share of the greater revenue collected is allocated to health, and spent as efficiently as possible. David Wilson

7 | Integrate HIV and water and sanitation programmes

Safe water can make an enormous difference to the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV. It can increase drug effectiveness by reducing diarrhoea and collaboration between HIV specialists at Safaids and in the water and sanitation sector have identified ways to integrate water and HIV programming more effectively in southern Africa to streamline investments. In addition, arecent systematic review showed that water and sanitation interventions to reduce morbidity among people living with HIV were cost-effective, particularly when incorporated into complementary programmes. Louisa Gosling, WaterAid

8 | Coordinate responses

In the HIV/Aids space, we can work with others focusing on health to share costs. In Malawi, for example, our mobile clinic teams test and treat for malaria and TB even though our core focus is HIV. Also, in our door-to-door testing pilot – where a team of eight canvases a village over a week to perform HIV tests – that same team will check for bed nets. If they do not have one, our HIV testing team will leave one and teach the family how to use it. One team, but two major health issues covered. Joel Goldman, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

9 | Push for more funding

We must reject the assumption that we will/can have less money and, instead, make it clear that less money, or even maintaining the same levels of funding, will lead to an increase in infections and deaths globally. Many organisations working on the global HIV and TB responses are shouting loudly about the funding alarm. It became even more urgent when the Kaiser Family Foundation found that global donor financing had reduced by 13% from 2014 to 2015. Our only way forward is to increase general public awareness and demand for donors and INGOs to increase HIV and TB funding up to 2020, and make it possible to end the epidemics by 2030. If not, we risk a terrifying rebound of the epidemics that we will struggle to get a grip on again. Mike Podmore

Read the full Q&A here.

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What It’s Like to Tell Your Boss That You’re HIV Positive

Office Workplace

In the modern British workplace, you can’t be fired or discriminated against in any way on the grounds that you’re HIV positive. That would be a criminal offence. Notifying your employer isn’t a legal requirement, but if you do chose to disclose your status and are met with anything other than support, confidentiality and reasonable adjustments, then your employer has almost certainly broken the law.

Story va VICE.
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Part of the Equalities Act 2010 was created to lessen its impact in employment and ensure disclosure wouldn’t jeopardise careers or future opportunities. Under the legislature, people with HIV cannot be treated less favourably under any circumstances. But thanks to the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding HIV, some have found it wholly ineffectual.

Had Shaun* stayed silent about his own diagnosis, he wouldn’t be fighting to save his career. “I have felt over the past two years that they were looking for ways to get me,” he says. For the last six years, Shaun has worked in the insurance department of a FTSE 100 British supermarket chain and has asked for anonymity as the situation is ongoing.

He received his diagnosis one Monday lunchtime in September of 2013. Disorientated, he returned to work the following morning, but by 9:30AM he found himself coerced into a meeting room while human resources tried to determine the cause of his visible distress. Despite his best efforts to resist disclosing his status – one he had barely begun to come to terms with – he was told he would be sent home if he refused to explain his discomfort.

“I felt forced. I wasn’t ready to say it myself, to anyone, never mind the HR person who I don’t really know,” he recalls. “I disclosed. She literally just went, ‘I’ll need to go and check whether I’ll need to tell all the first aiders.’ I was like, ‘I don’t even have to tell you, never mind anyone else.’ I got a message in the afternoon saying they had checked and they didn’t need to tell the first aiders.”

Shaun was under no legal obligation to disclose his status to anyone in his company. Six weeks later, they displayed an offensive level of ignorance around the subject.

“They took me into a room and told me they’d done some research and that if I cut myself at my desk, or in the building, to make sure that someone comes into the room and cleans it up,” says Shaun. “I believe my words were, ‘Well of course, if you were a negative person you would just lie in a pool of your own blood, wouldn’t you?’ That just angered me even more because where have they researched it? Where have they got that information from?”

The Equalities Act 2010 states employers are to make reasonable adjustments with regards to people living with HIV; the most common being time off for clinic appointments. Despite an attendance track record Shaun describes as “exemplary” (before his diagnosis he hadn’t taken sick leave since 2009), his employer began tracking his absences on a spreadsheet stored on the company server.

“My head of department wanted to know which appointments were not covered by the Equalities Act, with no details or explanation to me as to why they wanted that information,” explains Shaun. “I said, ‘You’re making me feel like you’re out to get me. And, allegedly, that’s not the case. I don’t believe them, but at the same time they said because I’m spending so many hours out of the business, they were trying to quantify how much work I had done.”

When he disclosed his status, Shaun was stunned by how little his employers knew about HIV – especially with regards to employment law. This was, after all, the well-resourced HR department of a FTSE 100 company; that they can brazenly display such ignorance – not to mention intolerance – and get away with it doesn’t bode well for people living with HIV who work in much smaller businesses.

Alice started working as a sales consultant at a London-based recruitment firm – a small company with five employees – four months after her diagnosis. Shortly after starting her medication she fell ill and decided to let her boss know, meeting up with him in a pub outside of office hours.

“It was just awful,” she says, recalling his reaction to her disclosure. “Straight away I could tell it was the wrong thing to do because his eyes widened and then he said, ‘When am I gonna get AIDS? When am I gonna be ill?’ He started to freak out and then said he needed to change the contract because if I fell over he was going to be sued. He said, ‘Why the hell didn’t you say? I think it’s so unfair that you didn’t say.’ I thought he would thank me for telling him and maybe be a bit shocked. I was speechless.”

The conversation lasted around 40 minutes, with topics ranging from the potential dangers of sharing cups and cutlery in the office (there aren’t any dangers), the jokes he had previously made about people with HIV in the office (which he then denied making), the fact he needed her parents’ number in case anything happened to her (he didn’t) and his anger that he wasn’t told sooner.

The discussion finished constructively with a promise that he’d put together a workable plan. She never made it back into the office. Instead, she received an email stating that she’d failed to pass her probation and wouldn’t be kept on. Compared to a previous conversation Alice had with him, it made for a sharp change of direction.

“He honestly was like, ‘You’re gonna make loads of money,'” says Alice, considering their relationship prior to his disclosure. “We were working really closely together, starting to do other projects.”

While Shaun and Alice have faced difficulty from their employers on account of their HIV status, Jayce Carberry, 26 from Medway, Kent, suffered from the prejudice of his clients. He received his diagnosis in 2012 and at the time was working as a freelance hairdresser. When the rumours about his diagnosis started to spread through his relatively small hometown, he chose to own the situation and address them with a Facebook status.

“I was doing really well and I was busy all of the time,” says Carberry. “I text to confirm appointments, and [after my Facebook status] I would get a text or a phone call back saying, ‘I read on Facebook about your HIV and I don’t really feel comfortable with you cutting my hair.’ I would say I lost a good 40 percent of my client base.”

The most common reason his clients abandoned him was their irrational fear of what would happen if he cut himself on his scissors and they came into contact with his blood (very little, is the answer). With a sharply diminished client list, he tried to return to a salon he previously worked at and invested in. He was told hiring him “would be a risk to the reputation of the salon”. He had previously left the salon on good terms and the owner was supposedly a friend.

“I gave up hairdressing. It was demoralising with all that going on,” he says. “I got really depressed about it and hid away from the world for a couple of months and lived off my savings for a while. And then I went to sign on. I had no other option.” Carberry has since moved to Brighton. As well as setting up a blog detailing his journey, he now manages a sexual health website for the METRO Charity.

There’s a definite sense that fighting, even if you’re on the right side of the law, is difficult, if not impossible. While Shaun may yet find himself in an employment tribunal, Alice chose to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial. As Jayce Carberry was self-employed, he has no case at all.

Legal fees, time constraints, lack of evidence, ignorance around employment rights – the reasons why HIV discrimination in the workplace often goes unpunished and underreported are numerous. But the stigma and misunderstanding of HIV is what enables the law to continually be undermined. Until companies – and the general public – gain better knowledge of what the virus is, these stories will sadly continue to repeat themselves.

Is your workplace ready?

Did you know we can offer training for your employer or for your workforce?

*Name changed to protect identity

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It isn’t going away!!

aiwga

The story of how LASS has responded to the challenge of HIV and AIDS was featured at this year’s East Midlands Oral History Day at Nottingham Library.

Tim Burke, who helped run our 25th anniversary history project in 2014, spoke to the conference about how the project got off the ground and about the interviews with volunteers and staff past and present that resulted in our publication “…and it won’t go away”.

He also read some extracts from the book that showed how LASS volunteers over the years have supported people living with AIDS/HIV.

“There was a great deal of interest from conference participants and they snapped some of the few remaining copies of the book,” said Tim.

“It was something of honour to be asked to contribute to the conference and I hope it will have further raised awareness of the significance of LASS’s work since 1987.”

This year’s event had a theme of oral history and health and LASS’s project was featured alongside other oral history projects ranging from working at Boot’s the Chemist to the medicinal use of cannabis and people’s experiences of life in and out of mental hospitals.

For more, and for your own copy of “…and it won’t go away”. Read the following article:

“…and it won’t go away.” 25 Years of Leicestershire AIDS Support Services

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HIV+ and worried about cancer? – You should be, read this and find out why.

CancerAwarenessRibbons

Breakthroughs in medicine made it so a HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence; staying well with the illness is way less complicated than it used to be. That is, unless you are HIV-positive and get cancer.

Article via NewsWeek

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society and published earlier this week says HIV patients in the U.S. are much less likely than the general population to receive treatments for cancer, whether it has affected the gastrointestinal system, lungs, cervix, prostate, breast or blood.

Patients with HIV have a significantly higher risk for certain cancers, known clinically as AIDS-defining cancers. These include Kaposi sarcoma (a soft tissue cancer that causes lesions in the lymph nodes and mucous membranes), cervical cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The diagnosis of any of these cancers for someone who has HIV is considered a clinical sign that the infection has progressed to AIDS.  (Don’t know the difference between HIV & AIDS? – Click here to read more).

According to the National Cancer Institute, people with HIV are several thousand times more likely than people without the disease to develop Kaposi sarcoma. They are 70 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. HIV-positive women are five times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. In addition, HIV increases the risk for most common cancers, including those in the breast, prostate and lungs and colorectal cancer.

HIV is also often associated with other viruses that can cause or are related to certain cancers. For example, patients diagnosed with HIV may test positive for the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer and some other types of cancers of both the male and female reproductive systems. HPV is also the cause of some head and neck cancers. Other viruses often diagnosed in people with HIV are Epstein-Barr and hepatitis B or C, all of which are linked to certain cancers.

To better understand how cancer specifically affects the HIV-positive community, researchers looked at data from the National Cancer Data Base on non-elderly adults diagnosed with several common cancers from 2003 to 2011, comparing 10,265 patients with an HIV diagnosis and 2,219,232 without. The researchers looked at rates of common types of cancer treatments across both populations, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation or any combination. The result were published in the medical journal Cancer.

After adjusting for factors such as whether patients had health insurance, the researchers found that across the board, HIV-positive cancer patients were still significantly less likely to receive standard oncology treatments. For example, 32 percent of HIV-positive patients with lung cancer weren’t receiving treatment, versus 13.6 percent of lung cancer patients without HIV. HIV-positive patients with cancer of the upper gastrointestinal tract were more than twice as likely to go without treatment than those who didn’t have HIV. These disparities still existed for HIV patients who were privately insured, but those on Medicare or Medicaid, or uninsured, were even less likely to get cancer treatments.

However, the authors say the study shows health insurance isn’t the only cause behind the cancer treatment disparities. One finding indicates race and ethnicity could contribute to limited medical care: HIV patients who were black tended to fare worse. The authors also suggest the disparities could be driven by the lack of research on the relationship between cancer and HIV—for example, whether certain chemotherapies and cancer drugs are safe to use on HIV-positive patients.

“HIV-infected patients with cancer have historically been excluded from cancer clinical trials, thereby limiting the applicability of clinical trial results for this population,” the researchers write in the conclusion of their study. Oncologists often feel less confident when treating these patients, which results in poor survival outcomes.

Rates of cancer mortality among patients with HIV/AIDS have decreased significantly since the introduction of antiretroviral drugs. These drugs lower the amount of virus circulating in the blood, which boosts immune system function, preventing the HIV virus from progressing to AIDS. The introduction of these antiretrovirals in the marketplace in the 1990s also significantly reduced the rates for Kaposi sarcomas and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

But antiretroviral drugs don’t fully restore immune system function, and their efficacy slowly diminishes over time, leaving HIV patients susceptible to cancers later in life. Additionally, many of these drugs are still relatively new, and no one knows for sure what the long-term impact may be for patients who take them for the full duration of their life. Regardless of these factors, the older a person is, the higher his or her risk for cancer.

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Nancy Reagan refused to help dying Rock Hudson get treatment for AIDS.

 President Reagan and his wife Nancy with Rock Hudson (left) at the White House in 1984, a year before he died. Photograph: Courtesy Everett Collection/Rex

President Reagan and his wife Nancy with Rock Hudson (left) at the White House in 1984, a year before he died. Photograph: Courtesy Everett Collection/Rex

Nancy Reagan refused to help Rock Hudson, one of the leading Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 1960s, as he sought treatment for Aids from a pioneering doctor in Paris, it has been revealed.

But he collapsed at the Ritz hotel, and was taken to the American hospital in the French capital. His publicist contacted the White House – the Reagans were old friends – in an attempt to speed up a transfer to a military hospital to be seen by Dr Dominique Dormant, a French army doctor who had previously treated Hudson in secret.

But the commanding officer of the Percy military hospital in Clamart initially refused to admit Hudson because he was not a French citizen. According to documents published by BuzzFeed on Wednesday, Nancy Reagan, the US first lady, declined to help.

Hudson was eventually admitted to the hospital, but died in October 1985. He was the first high-profile celebrity whose death from complications relating to the illness was openly acknowledged, and the revelation that such a big star had Aids helped to raise awareness about the disease in the US and other western countries.

Original documents from the time, obtained from the Reagan Presidential Libraryby the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group, reveal that Hudson’s US publicist, Dale Olson, sent a telegram to the Reagans at the White House pleading for help on 24 July. It stated: “Only one hospital in the world can offer necessary medical treatment to save life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness.”

Hudson had been denied permission to enter the hospital because he was not French, but Olson added that they believed “a request from the White House or a high American official would change [the head of the hospital’s] mind”.

It was not a request from a stranger. Hudson had been friendly with the Reagans during the president’s time in Hollywood. But when it landed on the desk of Mark Weinberg, a young Reagan staffer, Hudson’s team did not get the response they were hoping for.

A note written by Weinberg on the same day stated: “I spoke with Mrs Reagan about the attached telegram. She did not feel this was something the White House should get into and agreed to my suggestion that we refer the writer to the US embassy, Paris.”

Weinberg told BuzzFeed that he had immediately spoken to the first lady after receiving the telegram. “I knew the Reagans knew Rock Hudson, obviously from their years in Hollywood, and for that reason I decided to call her,” he said.

He added that he advised the first lady that they “had to be fair”, and treat Hudson the same as anyone else, and she agreed. Weinberg recommended that the White House refer the matter to the US embassy in France, because it was “probably not the [last] time we’re going to get a request like this and we want to be fair and not do anything that would appear to favour personal friends.”

He added: “The Reagans were very conscious of not making exceptions for people just because they were friends of theirs or celebrities or things of that kind … They weren’t about that. They were about treating everybody the same […] The view was, ‘Well, we’re so sorry’ – and she was, they were both very sorry for Rock’s condition and felt for him and all the people – but it just wasn’t something that the White House felt that they could do something different for him than they would do for anybody else.”

Asked about the phrase “not something the White House should get into”, he claimed that it referred to “special treatment for a friend or celebrity”. He said: “That’s all it refers to. It had nothing to do with Aids or Aids policy or … that’s a whole different issue. We weren’t talking about that.”

Weinberg added that he was aware of longstanding criticism of the Reagan administration’s response to Aids.

Gay rights campaigners point to the Reagan administration’s reluctance to accept the seriousness of Aids as a health issue and tardiness in tackling the resulting crisis in the 1980s.

By the beginning of 1985, more than 5,500 people had died from the disease but the US government had taken few significant steps toward tackling it. The administration even recommended a $10m cut in Aids spending, from $96m, in its federal budget proposal released in February 1985.

Peter Staley, a member of Act Up and founder of the Treatment Action Group, dismissed the argument that the Reagans did not want to be seen to be giving preferential treatment to a friend.

“Seems strange that the Reagans used that excuse, since they often did favours for their Hollywood friends during their White House years,” he told BuzzFeed, pointing to the former president’s personal intervention to help a fundraising effort led by Bob Hope. “I’m sure if it had been Bob Hope in that hospital with some rare, incurable cancer, Air Force One would have been dispatched to help save him. There’s no getting around the fact that they left Rock Hudson out to dry. As soon as he had that frightening homosexual disease, he became as unwanted and ignored as the rest of us.”

Documents show Hudson was eventually admitted to the military hospital some days after the telegram was sent to the Reagans, after intervention from the then French defence minister Charles Hernu. But Dr Dormant’s diagnosis was not optimistic.

He told the Hollywood star that the disease had progressed too far, and HPA-23 treatment would be of little use. Hudson chartered an Air France Boeing 747 at a cost of $250,000 and returned to Los Angeles, where he was taken to the UCLA Medical Center.

His death, a few months later on 2 October, may have signalled a sea change in how the disease was regarded. While he was still in Paris his team revealed the star had been diagnosed with Aids a year earlier.

For the first time he was spoken about as a gay man and he became the first high-profile celebrity to die from Aids, after openly acknowledging he had the disease. Two months before his death, a Newsweek report noted: “Among homosexuals, the news also produced some tenuous hopes. Now that Aids had struck its first celebrity, many felt, there might be a stronger push behind the quest for a successful treatment.”

President Reagan gave his first major public address on the issue on 31 May 1987, at the request of Hudson’s friend and co-star, Elizabeth Taylor.

At a dinner for the American Foundation for Aids Research, he said: “It’s also important that America not reject those who have the disease, but care for them with dignity and kindness. Final judgment is up to God; our part is to ease the suffering and to find a cure.”

By the end of 1987, more than 41,000 people had died in the US from the disease.

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Media Reports on HIV/AIDS – 1982 – 1992

82-92 news clips

The following, near hour reel of news clips is fascinating watching if you’re interested on early HIV/AIDS news reports.

The clips begin by informing us of a rare type of cancer which only gay men appear to contract resulting in a new ‘Gay Disease’ called AIDS.   What follows is a genuine account of how western media documented and reported on HIV / AIDS including stereotypes and blatant discrimination both toward the HIV & Gay communities.  It was only after the high profile death of  actor Rock Hudson did we see large groups of people mobilise and start to take “HIV/AIDS” seriously, in part due to the nature of HIV affecting all populations and not just homosexuals.

The videos you are about to see are products of their time.  They may depict some of the prejudices that were common place in society.  These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.  While the following does not represent LASS’ view of today’s society these clips is are being presented as they were originally broadcast, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

Playlist

  • Rare Cancer Type Traced To Homosexuals 6/17/1982
  • Gay Disease (Aids) 6/16/1982
  • Doctors Search For Answers To Aids Mystery 6/20/1983
  • Nyc Gay Parade 6/26/1983
  • Gay Pride Day Calls For Aids Help 6/27/1983
  • House Of Reps Hears Testimony On Aids 8/2/1983
  • Government Reports Scientific Breakthrough In Aids Research 4/23/1984
  • Sf Public Health Dept Closes Down Bath Houses In Sf To Curb Aids Epidemic 10/9/1984
  • Houston Prepares To Vote On Referendum On Civil Rights For Homosexuals 1/19/1985
  • Aids – Part 4 Of 5 9/12/1985
  • Actor Rock Hudson Dies After Battle With Aids 10/2/1985
  • Reporting Of Aids Cases Levels Off Indicating Change In Sexual Behavior 10/16/1985
  • Aids Becoming Political Issue In 1986 Campaigns 10/18/1985
  • Closing Of Mineshaft Gay Bar Amid Aids Crisis 11/6/1985
  • Aids Junkies 1/20/1986
  • Kokomo Parents Seek To Block Aids Boy From Returning To Class 2/20/1986
  • Ryan White Arrives For First Day Of School 8/26/1986
  • Ryan White Dies At 18 The Victim Of Aids 4/8/1990
  • Scotus To Determine States Rights On Legislative Restrictions On Gay Acts 3/31/1986
  • Justice Dept Rules Employers Can Fire Aids Victims To Prevent Aids Spreading 6/23/1986
  • Ultra-Right Winger Lyndon Larouche Asks For Quarantine Of Aids Victims 6/25/1986
  • The First Hospital Devoted To Aids Treatment : Research Opens In Texas 8/27/1986
  • Controversy Continues Over Prop 64 Which Would Quarantine Aids Patients 9/16/1986
  • Federal Government Approves Sale Of Azt In Prescription Form 3/20/1987
  • Pres Reagan Urges Youth To Abstain From Sex To Avoid Aids 4/1/1987
  • Col Legislature Considers Bill Requiring Drs To Report Names Of Hiv Positive 4/22/1987
  • Reagan Admins Long Range Plans For Aids Include Mandatory Testing 5/28/1987
  • Reagan Administration Speaks Out On Topic Of Aids Testing 6/1/1987
  • Pres Reagan Names National Commission On Aids : Includes Gay Activist 7/23/1987
  • Front Page: Gay March Contends With Aids Issue 10/11/1987
  • Washington Gay March 10/11/1987
  • Gays Protest Outside Scotus Over Lack Of Aids Funding 10/13/1987
  • Aids Protest In Nyc 3/24/1988
  • Stonewall:Gay Parade Natsot Material 6/25/1989
  • Gay Lib Demonstrators Celebrate Twenty Years Out Of The Closet 6/25/1989
  • Azt Testing Gives New Hope To Aids Patients 8/18/1989
  • After Eight: Aids Militants (Interview With Larry Kramer) 3/20/1990
  • Aids In The 90s 3/27/1990
  • Magic Johnson Press Conference Re: Testing Positive For Aids Virus 11/7/1991
  • Aids Conference In Florence Will Focus On Explosion Of Epidemic In Africa 6/16/1991
  • Aids Is Spreading Through Developing Countries 6/17/1991
  • Aids Quilt Unfurled In Washington 10/10/1992