Last week marked a grim anniversary. Thirty-three years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published their first report of a rare form of pneumonia that was killing gay men. Those terrifying early days of the AIDS plague were recently brought to life in the new HBO production of The Normal Heart, based on Larry Kramer’s 1985 play. After more than three decades and millions of lives lost, Kramer’s depiction of the rage-inspiring refusal by public officials to take action against AIDS may seem to some like a relic from a painful past.
The HIV/AIDS advocacy and protest movement that Kramer launched fought back against the indifference and inaction that fueled the fires of the global AIDS pandemic, and got results. The U.S. has now committed significant resources to the research and treatment of HIV/AIDS, both at home and overseas. The bad old days when people with HIV/AIDS were fired from their jobs and turned away from healthcare providers seem long gone. Or so we hoped.
It turns out that discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is alive and well in 2014.