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AIDS Virus

By the start of the 1990s, 200,000 Americans had already succumbed to the AIDS virus, and at least one million more are probably infected today. Unless a spectacular breakthrough comes soon, most of these people will be dead before the new millennium. This is the setting for the continuing battle against AIDS, a battle which has been going on for at least ten years now. Gay activist organizations, which had been little more than parade planning committees and social groups in the 1970s, became voices of rage and civil disobedience in the 1980s and 1990s. Less radical AIDS organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRCF) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGTLF) continued to work behind the scenes. Fund raising groups in the private sector, such as the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) and AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), were sponsored heavily by celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor. Initially, however, there were two AIDS activist organizations responding to the crisis.

New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) were formed by gays as a reaction to an indifferent society. These AIDS organizations, their ideologies, differing views, finances, and leadership, will be examined. We will also assess their political impact on policy making from a current perspective.

For the first six years of the AIDS epidemic, the gay community had been a surprisingly passive population on the political front. Most of their energy was spent in establishing support services for AIDS patients, which made sense, since if gays did not perform such tasks themselves, no one else would. As Randy Shilts reported in Conduct Unbecoming, an exhaustive study of gays in the military, "When they demonstrated about AIDS, however, the protests tended to be sentimental, candle-lit affairs with anguished pleas for help. By 1987, as HIV testing alerted tens of thousands that th...

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AIDS Virus. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 00:20, June 25, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1680540.html