Aids Awareness Essay Wikipedia Donald

World AIDS Day

The red ribbon is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.

Observed byAll UN Member States
Date1 December
First time1988; 30 years ago (1988)

World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988,[1] is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day.[2]

As of 2017[update], AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV,[3] making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS epidemic has decreased since its peak in 2005 (1 million in 2016, compared to 1.9 million in 2005).[3]


World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.[4][5] Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be on 1 December 1988.[6] Bunn, a former television broadcast journalist from San Francisco, had recommended the date of 1 December that believing it would maximize coverage of World AIDS Day by western news media, sufficiently long following the US elections but before the Christmas holidays.[6]

In its first two years, the theme of World AIDS Day focused on children and young people. While the choice of this theme was criticized at the time by some for ignoring the fact that people of all ages may become infected with HIV, the theme helped alleviate some of the stigma surrounding the disease and boost recognition of the problem as a family disease.[7]

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became operational in 1996, and it took over the planning and promotion of World AIDS Day.[7] Rather than focus on a single day, UNAIDS created the World AIDS Campaign in 1997 to focus on year-round communications, prevention and education.[7][8] In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign became an independent organization.[7][8][9]

Each year, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have released a greeting message for patients and doctors on World AIDS Day.[10][11][12][13][14]

In 2016, a collection of HIV and AIDS related NGOs (including Panagea Global AIDS and The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa) started a campaign to rename World AIDS Day to World HIV Day. They claim the change will put the emphasis on social justice issues, and the advancement of treatments like PrEP.[15]

In the US, the White House began marking World AIDS Day with the iconic display of a 28 foot (8.5 m) AIDS Ribbon on the building's North Portico in 2007.[16][17] White House aid Steven M. Levine, then serving in President George W. Bush's administration, proposed the display to symbolize the United States' commitment to combat the world AIDS epidemic through its landmark PEPFAR program.[18] The White House display, now an annual tradition across four presidential administrations, quickly garnered attention, as it was the first banner, sign or symbol to prominently hang from the White House since the Abraham Lincoln administration[citation needed].[19][20][21]

Since 1993, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation for World AIDS Day (see section #US Presidential Proclamations for World AIDS Day for copies of those proclamations). On November 30, 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed World AIDS Day for December 1.[22][23]


All the World AIDS Day campaigns focus on a specific theme, chosen following consultations with UNAIDS, WHO and a large number of grassroots, national and international agencies involved in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. As of 2008, each year's theme is chosen by the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign (WAC).[7]

For each World AIDS Day from 2005 through 2010, the theme was "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise", designed to encourage political leaders to keep their commitment to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by the year 2010.[7]

As of 2012, the multi-year theme for World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination."[24] The US Federal theme for the year 2014 is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation".[25]

The themes are not limited to a single day but are used year-round in international efforts to highlight HIV/AIDS awareness within the context of other major global events including the G8 Summit, as well as local campaigns like the Student Stop AIDS Campaign in the UK.

World AIDS Day Themes[26][edit]

2017My Health, My Right[27]
2016Hands up for #HIVprevention[28]
2015On the fast track to end AIDS[29]
2014Close the gap[30]
2013Zero Discrimination[31]
2012Together we will end AIDS [32]
2011Getting to Zero[33]
2010Universal Access and Human Rights[34]
2009Universal Access and Human Rights[34]
2008Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Lead – Empower – Deliver[35]
2007Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership
2006Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Accountability
2005Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2004Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
2003Stigma and Discrimination
2002Stigma and Discrimination
2001I care. Do you?
2000AIDS: Men Make a Difference
1999Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People
1998Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People
1997Children Living in a World with AIDS
1996One World. One Hope.
1995Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
1994AIDS and the Family
1992Community Commitment
1991Sharing the Challenge
1990Women and AIDS

See also[edit]


  1. ^"About World Aids Day". National Aids Trust. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  2. ^World Health Organization, WHO campaigns.
  3. ^ abFact sheet - Latest statistics on the status of the AIDS epidemic UNAIDS. Accessed 30 November 2017.
  4. ^"NPR: How World AIDS Day Began". 
  5. ^U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International News, "World AIDS Day Co-Founder Looks Back 20 Years Later", CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update, 12 December 2007
  6. ^ ab"Inventors of World AIDS Day: James Bunn and Thomas Netter". 
  7. ^ abcdefSpeicher, Sara (19 November 2008). ""World AIDS Day Marks 20th Anniversary Of Solidarity."". Medical News Today. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  8. ^ ab"van Soest, Marcel. "Accountability: Main Message on World AIDS Day." Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. 20 Oct 2006". 20 October 2006. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  9. ^Yearbook of the United Nations 2005. Vol. 59. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Publications, 2007. ISBN 92-1-100967-7
  10. ^"First World AIDS Day in 1988". Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  11. ^Message for the World AIDS DayArchived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^Gheddo, Piero. "Pope: "I feel near to people with AIDS and their families"". Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  13. ^Message of Caritas Internationalis On Occasion of World AIDS Day 2006
  14. ^Pullella, Philip. "Pope skirts condoms issue in World AIDS Day statement". Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  15. ^"The World Has Changed: The HIV Response Must Change Too On World HIV Day". 
  16. ^Jennifer Parker (November 30, 2007). "Two-Story AIDS Ribbon at White House". ABC News. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  17. ^ Proclamation 8207: World AIDS Day, 2007. Wikisource. 29 November 2007. 
  18. ^"Inside George W. Bush's Closet". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2017-12-02. 
  19. ^"White House hangs red ribbon for World AIDS Day". Retrieved 2017-12-02. 
  20. ^"The White House Honors World AIDS Day 2012". 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2017-12-02. 
  21. ^"A red ribbon adorns the North Portico of the White House Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, in recognition of World AIDS Day and the commitment by President George W. Bush and his administration to fighting and preventing HIV/AIDS in America and the world. White House photo by Eric Draper". Retrieved 2017-12-02. 
  22. ^Office of the Press Secretary (November 30, 2017). "President Donald J. Trump Proclaims December 1, 2017, as World AIDS Day". Washington, D.C.: White House. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  23. ^Wong, Curtis M. (November 30, 2017). "Trump Excludes LGBTQ People From World AIDS Day Proclamation". HuffPost. New York City: Oath Inc.Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  24. ^World Health Organization, World Aids Day 2012: Closing in on global HIV targets. Accessed 8 April 2014
  25. ^"Aids Day 2014". ibtimes. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  26. ^"World AIDS Day". Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.  , Minnesota Department of Health
  27. ^UNAIDS launches 2017 World AIDS Day campaign—My Health, My RightUNAids
  28. ^World AIDS Day 2016UNAids
  29. ^World AIDS Day 2015UNAids
  30. ^World AIDS Day 2014UNAids
  31. ^World AIDS Day 2013UNAids
  32. ^World AIDS Day 2012UNAids
  33. ^World AIDS Day 2011Archived 1 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine. World AIDS Campaign
  34. ^ abWorld AIDS Day
  35. ^"Dr. Peter Piot, "2008 World AIDS Day statements", Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 30 November 2008". UNAIDS. 30 November 2008. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 

External links[edit]


A large red ribbon hangs between columns in the north portico of the White House for World AIDS Day, 30 November 2007

For the NHL ice hockey player, see Ryan White (ice hockey). For the American basketball player, see Ryan White (basketball).

Ryan White

Ryan White in 1989

BornRyan Wayne White
(1971-12-06)December 6, 1971
Kokomo, Indiana, U.S.
DiedApril 8, 1990(1990-04-08) (aged 18)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Cause of deathComplications from AIDS
Parent(s)Jeanne Elaine Hale (mother)
Hubert Wayne White (father)

Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990)[1] was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after failing to be re-admitted to school following an AIDS diagnosis. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment (Factor VIII) and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood by the general public at the time. When Ryan tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Howard County rallied against his attendance due to concerns of the disease spreading through bodily fluid transfer. A lengthy administrative appeal process ensued, and news of the conflict turned Ryan into a popular celebrity and advocate for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, Ryan White lived five years longer than predicted but died on April 8, 1990, one month before his high school graduation.

Before Ryan White, AIDS was a disease stigmatized as an illness impacting the gay community, because it was first diagnosed among gay men. That perception shifted as Ryan and other prominent HIV-infected people such as Magic Johnson, Arthur Ashe and the Ray brothers appeared in the media to advocate for more AIDS research and public education to address the epidemic. The U.S. Congress passed a major piece of AIDS legislation, the Ryan White CARE Act, shortly after White's death. The Act has been reauthorized twice; Ryan White Programs are the largest provider of services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Early life and illness[edit]

Ryan White was born at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Kokomo, Indiana, to Hubert Wayne and Jeanne Elaine (Hale) White. When he was circumcised, the bleeding would not stop.[2] When he was three days old,[3] doctors diagnosed him with severe hemophilia A, a hereditary blood coagulation disorder associated with the X chromosome, which causes even minor injuries to result in severe bleeding. For treatment, he received weekly infusions of Factor VIII, a blood product created from pooled plasma of non-hemophiliacs, an increasingly common treatment for hemophiliacs at the time.[4]

Healthy for most of his childhood, he became extremely ill with pneumonia in December 1984. On December 17, 1984, during a lung biopsy, Ryan was diagnosed with AIDS. By this time the scientific community had studied the epidemic in great detail. Earlier that year that HTLV-III was identified and isolated by American research scientists, confirming the work done by French research scientists who called it LAV. A lengthy public battle to determine who should be recognized as the discover of the human retro virus delayed development of a test for what would later be called HIV. Ryan had apparently received a contaminated treatment of Factor VIII that was infected with HIV, as did thousands of other Americans with hemophilia and hemophiliacs around the world. At that time, because the retrovirus that causes AIDS had been recently identified, much of the pooled Factor VIII concentrate was tainted. Blood banks and pharmaceuticals dismissed calls by the CDC to use a Hepatitis B test as a surrogate until a HIV test could be developed. Late plasma products were screen and heat treated to deactivate both HIV and Hepatitis. Among hemophiliacs treated with blood-clotting factors between 1979 and 1984, nearly 90% became infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.[4] At the time of his diagnosis, his T-cell count had dropped to 25 (a healthy individual without HIV will have around 500–1200). Doctors predicted Ryan White had only six months to live.[3]

After the diagnosis, Ryan White was too ill to return to school, but by early 1985 he began to feel better. His mother asked if he could return to school, but was told by school officials that he could not. On June 30, 1985, a formal request to permit re-admittance to school was denied by Western School Corporation superintendent James O. Smith, sparking an administrative appeal process that lasted for eight months.[5]

Battle with schools[edit]

Timeline of legal battle
1985–86 school year
June 30Superintendent James O. Smith denies White admittance to school.[6]
Aug. 26First day of school. Ryan White is allowed to listen to his classes via telephone.[7]
Oct. 2School principal upholds decision to prohibit Ryan White.[8]
Nov. 25Indiana Department of Education rules that Ryan White must be admitted.[9]
Dec. 17The school board votes 7–0 to appeal the ruling.[10]
Feb. 6Indiana DOE again rules White can attend school, after inspection by Howard County health officers.[11]
Feb. 13Howard County health officer determines Ryan is fit for school.[12]
Feb. 19Howard County judge refuses to issue an injunction against Ryan White.[13]
Feb. 21White returns to school. A different judge grants a restraining order that afternoon to again bar him.[14]
Mar. 2Ryan's opponents hold an auction in the school gymnasium to raise money to keep White out.[15]
April 9Ryan's case is presented in Circuit Court.[16]
April 10Circuit Court Judge Jack R. O'Neill dissolves restraining order. Ryan White returns to school.[17]
July 18Indiana Court of Appeals declines to hear any further appeals.[18]

Western Middle School in Russiaville faced enormous pressure from many parents and faculty to deny White from the campus after his diagnosis became widely known. In the school of 360 total students, 117 parents and 50 teachers signed a petition encouraging school leaders to ban Ryan from school. Due to the widespread fear and ignorance of AIDS, the principal and later the school board succumbed to this pressure and prohibited re-admittance. The White family filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the decision. The Whites initially filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. The court, however, declined to hear the case until administrative appeals had been resolved.[19] On November 25, an Indiana Department of Education officer ruled that the school must follow the Indiana Board of Health guidelines and that Ryan White must be allowed to attend school.[20]

The means of transmission of HIV had not yet been fully resolved by the mid to late 80s. Scientists knew it spread via blood and was not transmittable by any sort of casual contact, but as recently as 1983, the American Medical Association had thought that "Evidence Suggests Household Contact May Transmit AIDS", and the belief that the disease could easily spread persisted.[21] Children with AIDS were still rare: at the time of Ryan White's rejection from school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew of only 148 cases of pediatric AIDS in the United States.[6] Many families in Kokomo believed his presence posed an unacceptable risk.[22] When Ryan was permitted to return to school for one day in February 1986, 151 of 360 students stayed home. He also worked as a paperboy, and many of the people on his route canceled their subscriptions, believing that HIV could be transmitted through newsprint.[5]

The Indiana state health commissioner, Dr. Woodrow Myers, who had extensive experience treating AIDS patients in San Francisco, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both notified the board that Ryan posed no risk to other students, but the school board and many parents ignored their statements.[5] In February 1986, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study of 101 people who had spent three months living in close but non-sexual contact with people with AIDS. The study concluded that the risk of infection was "minimal to nonexistent," even when contact included sharing toothbrushes, razors, clothing, combs and drinking glasses; sleeping in the same bed; and hugging and kissing.[23]

When Ryan was finally readmitted in April, a group of families withdrew their children and started an alternative school.[24] Threats of violence and lawsuits persisted. According to Ryan's mother, people on the street would often yell, "we know you're queer" at Ryan.[22] The editors and publishers of the Kokomo Tribune, which supported Ryan both editorially and financially, were also ridiculed by members of the community and threatened with death for their actions.[22]

Ryan White attended Western Middle School for eighth grade for the entire 1986–87 school year, but was deeply unhappy and had few friends. The school required him to eat with disposable utensils, use separate bathrooms, and waived his requirement to enroll in a gym class.[25] Threats continued. When a bullet was fired through the White's living room window (no one was home at the time), the family decided to leave Kokomo.[3] After finishing the school year, his family moved to Cicero, Indiana, where he enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School, in Arcadia, Indiana. On August 31, 1987, a "very nervous" Ryan White was greeted by school principal Tony Cook, school system superintendent Bob G. Carnal, and a handful of students who had been educated about AIDS and were unafraid to shake Ryan's hand.[26]

National spokesman[edit]

The publicity of Ryan White's story catapulted him into the national spotlight, amidst a growing wave of AIDS coverage in the news media. Between 1985 and 1987, the number of news stories about AIDS in the American media doubled.[27] While isolated in middle school, White appeared frequently on national television and in newspapers to discuss his tribulations with the disease. Eventually, he became known as a poster child for the AIDS crisis, appearing in fundraising and educational campaigns for the syndrome. Ryan participated in numerous public benefits for children with AIDS. Many celebrities appeared with Ryan, starting during his trial and continuing for the rest of his life, to help publicly destigmatize socializing with people with AIDS. Singers John Cougar Mellencamp, Elton John and Michael Jackson, actor Matt Frewer, diver Greg Louganis, PresidentRonald Reagan and First LadyNancy Reagan, Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, Indiana Universitybasketball coach Bobby Knight and basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all befriended White. He also was a friend to many children with AIDS or other potentially debilitating conditions.[3]

For the rest of his life, he appeared frequently on Phil Donahue's talk show. His celebrity crush, Alyssa Milano of the then-popular TV show Who's the Boss?, met Ryan and gave him a friendship bracelet and a kiss.[3] Elton John loaned Jeanne White $16,500 to put toward a down payment on the Cicero home, and rather than accept repayment, placed the repaid money into a college fund for Ryan's sister.[28] In high school, White drove a red 1988 Ford Mustang GT, a gift from Michael Jackson.[29] Despite the fame and donations, Ryan White stated that he disliked the public spotlight, loathed remarks that seemingly blamed his mother or his upbringing for his illness, and emphasized that he would be willing at any moment to trade his fame for freedom from the disease.[29]

In 1988, Ryan White spoke before the President's Commission on the AIDS Epidemic. Ryan White told the commission of the discrimination he had faced when he first tried to return to school, but how education about the disease had made him welcome in the town of Cicero. Ryan White emphasized his differing experiences in Kokomo and Cicero as an example of the power and importance of AIDS education.[25]

In 1989, ABC aired the television movie The Ryan White Story, starring Lukas Haas as Ryan, Judith Light as Jeanne and Nikki Cox as his sister Andrea. Ryan White had a small cameo appearance as "Chad" in the film, playing a boy also suffering from HIV who befriends Haas.[30] Others in the film included Sarah Jessica Parker as a sympathetic nurse, George Dzundza as his doctor, and George C. Scott as Ryan's attorney, who legally argued against school board authorities.[31]Nielsen estimated that the movie was seen by 15 million viewers.[32] Some residents of Kokomo felt that the movie portrayed their entire town in an unfairly negative light. After the film aired, the office of Kokomo mayor Robert F. Sargent was flooded with complaints from across the country, although Robert Sargent had not been elected to the office during the time of the controversy.[31][32]

By early 1990, Ryan's health was deteriorating rapidly. In his final public appearance, he hosted an after-Oscars party with former president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan in California.[33] Although his health was declining, Ryan White spoke to the Reagans about his date to the prom and his hopes of attending college.[34]


"We owe it to Ryan to make sure that the fear and ignorance that chased him from his home and his school will be eliminated. We owe it to Ryan to open our hearts and our minds to those with AIDS. We owe it to Ryan to be compassionate, caring and tolerant toward those with AIDS, their families and friends. It's the disease that's frightening, not the people who have it."

—Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, April 11, 1990[34]

On March 29, 1990, Ryan White entered Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis with a respiratory infection. As his condition deteriorated, he was sedated and placed on a ventilator. He was visited by Elton John and the hospital was deluged with calls from well-wishers. Ryan White died on April 8, 1990.[29]

Over 1,500 people attended Ryan's funeral on April 11, a standing-room only event held at the Second Presbyterian Church on Meridian Street in Indianapolis.[33] White's pallbearers included Elton John, football star Howie Long and Phil Donahue. Elton John performed "Skyline Pigeon" at the funeral. The funeral was also attended by Michael Jackson and Barbara Bush. On the day of the funeral, former President Ronald Reagan wrote a tribute to Ryan that appeared in The Washington Post.[33][34] Reagan's statement about AIDS and White's funeral were seen as indicators of how greatly Ryan White had helped change perceptions of AIDS.[33]

Ryan White is buried in Cicero, close to the former home of his mother. In the year following his death, his grave was vandalized on four occasions.[35] As time passed, Ryan's grave became a shrine for his admirers.[36]


Ryan White was one of a handful of highly visible people with AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s who helped change the public perception of the disease. Ryan, along with actor Rock Hudson, was one of the earliest public faces of AIDS. Later public figures who was infected with AIDS included Keith Haring, Holly Johnson, Freddie Mercury, Ray brothers, Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis, Arthur Ashe, Liberace, Eazy-E, Anthony Perkins, Randy Shilts, Ricky Wilson and Robert Reed. Ryan White helped to increase public awareness that HIV/AIDS was a significant epidemic.[27]

Numerous charities formed around White's death. The Indiana University Dance Marathon, started in 1991, raises money for the Riley Hospital for Children. Between 1991 and 2016, this event helped raise over $28 million for children at Riley.[37] The money raised has also helped found the Ryan White Infectious Disease Clinic at the hospital to take care of the nation's sickest children. Ryan's personal physician, with whom he was close friends, Dr. Martin Kleiman, became the Ryan White Professor of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. In a 1993 interview, prominent gay rights and AIDS activist Larry Kramer said, "I think little Ryan White probably did more to change the face of this illness and to move people than anyone. And he continues to be a presence through his mom, Jeanne White. She has an incredibly moving presence as she speaks around the world."[38]

In 1992, Ryan's mother founded the national nonprofit Ryan White Foundation. The foundation worked to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS-related issues, with a focus on hemophiliacs like Ryan White, and on families caring for relatives with the disease.[39] The foundation was active throughout the 1990s, with donations reaching $300,000 a year in 1997. Between 1997 and 2000, however, AIDS donations declined nationwide by 21%, and the Ryan White Foundation saw its donation level drop to $100,000 a year. In 2000, Ryan's mother closed the foundation, and merged its remaining assets with AIDS Action, a larger charity. She became a spokeswoman for AIDS activism and continues to arrange speaking events through the site devoted to her son,[40] White's high school, Hamilton Heights, has had a student-government sponsored annual Aids Walk, with proceeds going to a Ryan White Scholarship Fund.[41]

Ryan's death inspired Elton John to create the Elton John AIDS Foundation. White also became the inspiration for a handful of popular songs. Elton John donated proceeds from "The Last Song," which appears on his album The One, to a Ryan White fund at Riley Hospital.[42]Michael Jackson dedicated the song "Gone Too Soon" from his Dangerous album to White,[43] as did 1980s pop star Tiffany with the song "Here in My Heart" on her New Inside album.[44] In November 2007, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis opened an exhibit called "The Power of Children: Making a Difference," which remains a sobering, featured exhibit and continues to develop, while it features Ryan's bedroom and belongings alongside similar tributes to Anne Frank and Ruby Bridges.[45]

Ryan White and public perception of AIDS[edit]

See also: HIV/AIDS in the United States

In the early 1980s, AIDS was known as gay-related immune deficiency, because the disease had first been identified among primarily homosexual communities in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. At the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, the disease was thought to be a "homosexual problem" and was largely ignored by policy makers.[21] White's diagnosis demonstrated to many that AIDS was not exclusive to LGBT, minority, and poor people. In his advocacy for AIDS research, White always rejected any criticism of homosexuality, although not gay himself.

Ryan White was seen by some as an "innocent victim" of the AIDS epidemic.[39] Ryan White and his family strongly rejected the language of "innocent victim" because the phrase was often used to imply that gays with AIDS were "guilty". Ryan's mother told The New York Times,

Ryan always said, 'I'm just like everyone else with AIDS, no matter how I got it.' And he would never have lived as long as he did without the gay community. The people we knew in New York made sure we knew about the latest treatments way before we would have known in Indiana. I hear mothers today say they're not gonna work with no gay community on anything. Well, if it comes to your son's life, you better start changing your heart and your attitude around.[39]

Ryan White CARE Act[edit]

Main article: Ryan White CARE Act

In August 1990, four months after Ryan's death, Congress enacted The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (often known simply as the Ryan White CARE Act), in his honor. The act is the United States' largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Ryan White CARE Act funds programs to improve availability of care for low-income, uninsured and under-insured victims of AIDS and their families.[46]

Ryan White programs are "payers of last resort," which subsidize treatment when no other resources are available. The act was reauthorized in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2009 and remains an active piece of legislation today. The program provides some level of care for around 500,000 people a year and, in 2004, provided funds to 2,567 organizations. The Ryan White programs also provide funding and technical assistance to local and state primary medical care providers, support services, healthcare provider and training programs.[46][47]

The Ryan White CARE Act was set to expire on September 30, 2009, although efforts began to obtain an extension to the act.[48] The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 was signed on October 30, 2009 by President Barack Obama, who announced that implementation was progressing on repeal of the ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. by individuals with HIV that had been passed by Congress.

See also[edit]

  • Eve van Grafhorst – an Australian pre-schooler who received HIV via a blood transfusion and was subsequently banned from her pre-school in fears of spreading the illness.


  1. ^"A Timeline of Key Events in Ryan's Life". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  2. ^Haylee Brannon (2012). Mother of AIDS martyr Ryan White Speaks at Priuis Hall. the Ball State Daily News. Archived from the original on 2012-05-03. 
  3. ^ abcdeWhite, Ryan; Ann Marie Cunningham (1991). Ryan White: My Own Story. Dial Books. ISBN 0-8037-0977-3. [page needed]
  4. ^ abResnik, Susan (1999). Blood Saga: Hemophilia, AIDS, and the Survival of a Community. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21195-2. .
  5. ^ abcSpecter, Michael (September 3, 1985). "AIDS Victim's Right to Attend Public School Tested in Corn Belt". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ ab"Domestic news". Associated Press. July 31, 1985. 
  7. ^Perlman, Lisa (August 26, 1985). "AIDS Victim Begins School By Phone". Associated Press. 
  8. ^"Official Recommends AIDS Victim Stay Home for School". Associated Press. October 2, 1985. 
  9. ^Perlman, Lisa (November 25, 1985). "Rule Teen-ager Can Attend Classes". Associated Press. 
  10. ^Perlman, Lisa (December 18, 1985). "School Board Votes to Appeal Decision Allowing AIDS Victim in Classes". Associated Press. 
  11. ^Strauss, John (February 6, 1986). "Boy Can Return To School If Health Officer Approves, Board Says". Associated Press. 
  12. ^Perlman, Lisa (February 13, 1986). "Health Officer Says AIDS Victim Ryan White Can Return To School". Associated Press. 
  13. ^"Judge Denies Motion To Bar Indiana AIDS Victim From Classes". Associated Press. February 19, 1986. 
  14. ^Strauss, John (February 21, 1986). "AIDS Schoolboy Back in Classroom But Judge Rules Against Him". Associated Press. 
  15. ^"Opposition Group Raises Needed Funds For Bond". Associated Press. March 3, 1986. 
  16. ^Strauss, John (April 9, 1986). "Judge Delays Ruling In Ryan White Case". Associated Press. 
  17. ^Kusmer, Ken (April 10, 1986). "Teen-Age AIDS Victim Returns To School after Lengthy Court Battle". Associated Press. 
  18. ^Huddleston, Susan (July 18, 1986). "Parents Drop Effort to Keep AIDS Victim Out of School". Associated Press. 
  19. ^"Chronology of Ryan White's Fight to Attend School". United Press International. November 25, 1985. 
  20. ^"Ruling sends AIDS victim back to class". The Eugene Register-Guard. November 26, 1985. 
  21. ^ abShilts, Randy (1987). And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-00994-1. 
  22. ^ abcSharon Cohen (April 28, 1986). "'City Of Firsts' Struggles with Division over AIDS in School". Associated Press. 
  23. ^Friedland GH, Saltzman BR, Rogers MF, Kahl PA, Lesser ML, Mayers MM, Klein RS (February 6, 1986). "Lack of Transmission of HTLV-III/LAV Infection to Household Contacts of Patients with AIDS or AIDS-Related Complex with Oral Candidiasis". New England Journal of Medicine. 314: 344–349. doi:10.1056/NEJM198602063140604. 
  24. ^"Alternative School Opens in AIDS Scare". The Washington Post. April 23, 1986. 
  25. ^ abFranklin, Tim (March 3, 1988). "Teen's Story of AIDS Prejudice Wins Hearts". The Chicago Tribune. 
  26. ^Richardson, Fran (August 31, 1987). "AIDS Schoolboy Says First Day At New School Went. 'Great'". Associated Press. 
  27. ^ abBrodie, Mollyann; et al. (2004). AIDS at 21: Media Coverage of the HIV Epidemic 1981–2002(PDF). Kaiser Family Foundation. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2009-03-26.  Retrieved on September 9, 2007.
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