The AIDS epidemic struck ten years before my birth, so it isn’t a topic I knew much about. It was mentioned in health classes throughout schooling, as a reminder to be careful around other students, as you do not know if they carry a bug that could hurt you. As far as I remember, we just equated this warning to cooties. This film, based on the book, And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts, has opened my eyes to world of public health, epidemiology, and the world’s reaction to an unknown health issue, publically, scientifically, and politically.
I never knew what a struggle it would be to understand an emerging, deadly, unknown illness. It shocked me to watch the constant roadblocks arise, mainly concerning minimal cooperation.
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HIV/AIDS is still prevalent within that population, but due to the extensive research, treatments are readily available. Also, educational programs are put forth to all communities, not just high risk areas. The more knowledge and understanding we have about a topic, especially health related, the better decisions are made. What still concerns me is the continuously high number of new cases. To better the promotion campaigns, it seems wise to focus on prevention and educating about transmission pathways, but even more so, the importance of getting tested, knowing the results, and being open and share the results. Too many of the HIV/AIDS infected are unaware.
“This is not a political issue. This is a health issue. This is not a gay issue. This is a human issue.” One of the most substantial quotes brings light to the theme of humanity. There should be no squabbling between scientists on who receives credit for the final discover of the virus, it should a joint effort of humans against disease. The politics behind refusing support on a regular basis, increasingly so due to the high risk within the gay population, should not exist nor be a main concern. Don Francis was upset when the health and government officials did not see the rapid spread and high death rate as a raise of concern. He asked them to decide the number of cases and the number of deaths they felt was justifiable to warrant proper collaborated research.