Three Decades of HIV/AIDS, Part Two
Ignorance, Fear and Hysteria (1985-1990) and Activism (1990-1995)
By Bob Frascino, M.D.
June 30, 2011
Following Liz's lead other celebrities jumped on the bandwagon and formed AIDS charities and foundations, staged benefit concerts, organized AIDS awareness rallies and marches, and recorded public service announcements.
In 1991 Magic Johnson was declared a brave hero for publicly disclosing his infection and retiring from professional basketball. The death of Queen's Freddie Mercury, also in 1991, was seen as a cultural tragedy.
The red AIDS ribbon campaign began this year. 1991 holds particular significance for me, as it is the year the virus found me. I seroconverted to HIV positive in January 1991 following a severe hollow-bore needle-stick and laceration sustained while performing a procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS. I have discussed at length the consequences of this fateful day in my life in previous blogs and elsewhere on this site. Suffice it to say I now had a unique and privileged view of the evolving pandemic. Unique because I was able to witness HIV from both sides of the examination table. Privileged because I had the knowledge and authority of an HIV physician specialist, but also the eyes, heart and soul of an HIV-positive patient.
1992 saw ACT UP push the FDA to accelerate the approval process for HIV drugs.
Their unconventional tactics, such as naked body painting, gained media attention. (This photo is a bit amusing if you happen to notice the one naked guy checking out the equipment on the guy next door. Even in the midst of AIDS activism, boys will be boys.)
Also noteworthy for 1992, Mary Fisher
and Bob Hattoy, both HIV positive, addressed the Republican and Democratic National Conventions respectively. Meanwhile Isaac Asimov
and Peter Allen
and Anthony Perkins
died. The word was getting out and AIDS had become the "cause célèbre." The number of deaths continued to skyrocket. Many, like Olympic Gold medalist Greg Louganis, continued to suffer in silence.
The death march continued in 1993 with the demise of Arthur Ashe
and Rudolph Nureyev.
The Real World brought the death of AIDS patient Pedro Zamora into every 15-year-old's living room.
People were finally listening as Time Magazine's cover story reported we were "Losing the Battle."
AIDS had become the number one killer of young Americans.
Want to get in touch with Dr. Bob? You can reach him through his "Ask the Experts" forum, by sending a message to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, or by leaving a comment for him below. (If it's a private message, or if it includes personal info such as your e-mail address or phone number, we won't post the comment, but we will send it along to him.)
Get e-mail notifications every time Dr. Bob's blog is updated.
Comment by: michael
Thu., Aug. 11, 2011 at 4:37 am UTC
three decades of hiv/AIDS and we get a blog with a collection of pics......are we plateauing on our friends list request on facebook or something? very little difference in attitude in today's society. for every person educated about the disease, a dozen more are born who will be taught otherwise. it's nice, doc, that you come home to someone who understands. sadly, that is a tiny, tiny spec in this world. even in terms of scientific advancement, it seems that the new btripla is more of a slight step backwards than forward. after years after the introduction of atripla, they come up with btripla that is slightly subpar to atripla and if btripla fails, it pretty much ruins the effectiveness of many pill options.....3 decades...and the cost to be on treatment is still beyond reach to most people......sad....
Comment by: Brad J.
Tue., Aug. 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm UTC
Comment by: David K.
Fri., Aug. 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm UTC
Currently the United States is not doing enough to screen individuals for HIV/Aids. I was diagnosed with HIV/ Aids and cryptococis in 2009 by the VA hospital in OKC. Between 2003-2009 I visited the VA hospitals numerous times showing signs of my immune system failing and not once had any of the VA Doctors followed the standard of care of asking about risk factors of HIV nor did they ask whether I wanted to have an HIV test until finally when I had Cryptococis Menengitus I was tested. Recently I've heard that everyone who goes to the VA are asked whether they do want to be tested. Who knows how long that will be enforced. While filing my claim with the VA, I was disrespected by the VA Regional Attorney and the attorney had also interfered with my claim of course nearly 10 months later my claim was denied. Im not through with my claim, District Court Bound! The Government needs to be held responsible for those who they failed to test and catch the virus early so no harm will come to them. I urge others who have been not diagnosed early to file claims as well.
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Brad
Tue., Aug. 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm UTC
The VA ID Clinic in Atlanta is FANTASTIC! FYI!
Comment by: Lance
Sat., Jul. 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm UTC
Thanks so much for your blogs. I am neg. and head over heals in love with my "Pos.charged" and look forward to every one of them. PS...I think it is time to grow that "Stash" back mister.
Comment by: Michael D.
Mon., Jul. 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm UTC
Thanks for this. It shows how far we have come. Seeing that picture of Ryan White in his hospital bed brought a tear.
Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy
Life, Love, Sex, HIV and Other Unscheduled Events
Bob Frascino, M.D., was President and Founder of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. He had been an outspoken, popular expert in TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" forums on safe sex and fatigue/anemia since 2000. Once a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Frascino served as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, at Stanford University Medical Center from 1983 until 2001. He was a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and had also been a distinguished member of the executive boards of numerous state and regional associations.
We're inexpressibly saddened to share the news that Dr. Frascino passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Click here to read more and to share your thoughts.
Subscribe to Dr. Bob's Blog:
October 19, 2011 - The Ultimate Unscheduled Event: A Blog Entry by Steven M. Natterstad, M.D.
September 23, 2011 - HIV Guidelines: Some Evolve; Some Don't. What's Up with That? Part Two -- A Blog Entry by Bob Frascino, M.D.
August 25, 2011 - HIV Guidelines: Some Evolve; Some Don't. What's Up With That? Part One: A Blog Entry by Bob Frascino, M.D.
July 27, 2011 - Three Decades of HIV/AIDS, Part Three: A Blog Entry by Bob Frascino, M.D.
June 30, 2011 - Three Decades of HIV/AIDS, Part Two: A Blog Entry by Bob Frascino, M.D.
View All Posts
Interviews With Dr. Bob:
Doctor Views: Dr. Bob Frascino
Dr. Bob's "Ask the Experts" Forums on TheBody.com:
Fatigue and Anemia
Safe Sex and HIV Prevention
A Brief Disclaimer:
The opinions expressed by TheBody.com's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TheBody.com itself.