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Commentary & Opinion
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Opinion Pieces on Reagan's Response to AIDS

June 8, 2004

AIDS advocates have said that former President Reagan, who died on Saturday, largely ignored the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic during his two terms as president in the 1980s. Although the federal government first appropriated funding for AIDS research in 1982, the Reagan administration regarded the disease for several years as a state and local problem. Even as HHS officials privately sought increased funding for research in the early 1980s, Reagan did not view the situation as a national problem until the disease hit him personally in 1985 with the AIDS-related death of his friend Rock Hudson, according to some advocates. In addition, Reagan did not publicly say the word "AIDS" until a 1987 speech at the Third International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/7/01). Two newspapers on Tuesday published opinion pieces on Reagan's AIDS policies. Summaries of the pieces appear below:

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