During 1981, New York and California saw the first few cases of HIV/AIDS. According to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), published on June 5, 1981 by Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), hospitals treat five young gay men for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Two of the men died. During the same time frame, write Hughes and colleagues, New York reports a rare and aggressive cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) among male homosexuals. Within days Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, report cases to the CDC consisting of PCP, KS and other immune system complications.
Research published in 2006 by Davis et al. explained how health organizations and doctors were unable to determine the epidemic of this infectious disease in New York and California. The new illness was initially labeled as “gay disease” until 1982, CDC uses the term AIDS “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome."
Research by Davis et al. showed that individuals were afraid of people living with HIV / AIDS. Almost half ( 47%) said that anyone who had tested positive would be "avoided." Many Americans were worried about how the disease was transmitted, and sometimes uncertain about it.
Poster, "Some People Think You Can Catch AIDS from a glass." 1987, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, UCSF Library.
As many people can remember, the aisles in the grocery store became empty in March. Suddenly, there was no toilet paper, no pasta, and no hand sanitizer or other cleaning products. Indivduals panicked about the coronavirus, and fear had swept across the country. According to Keane and Neal, Government policies such as social distancing, lockdowns and travel restrictions, as well as growth in the Coronavirus cases, generated such behavior. Hence, organizations such as Amazon put out advertisements for toilet paper; then, people began to order toilet paper online. Charmin and other toilet paper brands announced their reluctance to work hard to make sure the toilet paper was on the shelf or brought to their door.
Bush and colleagues explained how New York fought the media for a long time in the 1980s because its campaign recommended the use of condoms. The media rejected these advertisements because they might suggest encouraging unmarried partners to engage in sex.
Poster, "Don't Forget Your Rubbers," Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, UCSF Library.
Bush et al. 1989, invited AIDS coordinators and public information experts from the Department of Health of 48 states to participate in a study. The CDC recommended these individuals for being most knowledgeable about the AIDS media campaign. Bush et al. contacted the experts and obtained complete questionnaires. According to the study the experts seemed to be in agreement over condom use. The majority (94 percent) disagreed with the idea that promoting condoms as a defense against AIDS would NOT reduce the rate at which the infection is spreading. As well, they disagreed with the statement, “Promoting condom usage will encourage sexual activity.”
Poster, "Safe Sex ... Are You Man Enough?" ca. 1985,1997, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, UCSF Library.
Today, most Americans understand the basics of AIDS, that people with HIV can spread the disease by unprotected sex and the sharing of needles for the use of drugs, and that there are drugs that can prolong the lives of people living with HIV, but there is still stigma, discrimination and fear. As of 2006, one in five Americans (21%) said that working with someone with HIV / AIDS would be "extremely" or "somewhat" uncomfortable, and more than a third (39%) would be uncomfortable living with someone with HIV / AIDS (Davis et al., 2006).
Poster, "Its About Men of Color," Collection, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, UCSF Library.
Comparable to Coronavirus, HIV/AIDS had a lot of misleading information spreading through the nation. Such as where HIV/AIDS came from or how to receive the virus. Many campaigns across the United States started to focus on getting the correct information out to the people. Similar to today people lived in fear because of the unknown or wrong facts about HIV/AIDS.
The Rumors TV campaign from 1986 to 1987 directly challenged the beliefs of many Americans and encouraged viewers to write to the Red Cross for more information (Davis et al., 2006).
Brochure, “Straight Talk About Sex and AIDS,” 1986, Courtsey of Archives and Special Collections, UCSF Library.
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