Sunday, June 01, 2014

Why blame Reagan?

In 1984, the HIV virus was identified by the U.S. Public Health Service and French scientists. In 1985, a blood test to detect HIV was licensed. Yet gay advocates criticize President Reagan for not speaking out about it until 1987 even though he had instructed his Surgeon General to issue a report in February 1986. (I even saw that on the cover of Entertainment magazine recently.) Gay bars, bathhouses and rampant promiscuity continued, but somehow it's Reagan's fault men were dying from their own sexual behavior?

What other president is blamed for deaths from disease before treatment/cure was found? There were at least 9 deadly diseases known to kill citizens in Washington's 2 terms. Inoculation for small pox was being tried in the mid 18th century and Jefferson didn't advocate for it until 1806. Even Lincoln got small pox after Gettysburg. FDR didn't start the March of Dimes until almost 20 years after he'd had polio. The Fords and Carters advocated for childhood vaccines 30+ years after I'd been vaccinated in 1945 and 1953. 45 years after the Surgeon General's report on smoking, President Obama was still smoking.

In the U.S. 443,000 people die prematurely from tobacco related illnesses each year according to the CDC--more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined and WWII deaths!. Not a peep from the White House (except to raise the cigarette tax which disproportionately hurts the poor).

So why the anger at Reagan for not jumping on the HIV band wagon?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that as much as they hated Reagan they seemed to think he had magical powers. If only he'd said something sooner?