Ryan White was the most prominent HIV/AIDS activist. He had become the national poster boy for

1100 WordsApr 23, 20195 Pages
Ryan White was the most prominent HIV/AIDS activist. He had become the national poster boy for HIV/AIDs in the United States. Ryan educated the public with knowledge about his disease. Because of Ryan’s experience being broadcasted across the nation, the discrimination of those who had HIV or AIDS was exposed and he spoke out for the rights of those who were living with AIDS. The programs started in his name today are the largest provider of services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. What is HIV/AIDS? HIV stands for “human immunodeficiency syndrome,” while AIDS stands for “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.” AIDS is the final stage of HIV, which causes severe damage to the immune system. In our world today, over 35.3…show more content…
In an interview with People Magazine nine years after his death, Ryan’s mother Jeanne described the types of hardships Ryan had to deal with once news of his disease spread. First, he was banned from Western Middle School. After a nine-month long court battle, Ryan was allowed to return to school, but the decision wasn’t favored by much. Students would spray paint obscenities inside his locker and scatter the hallways whenever he was approaching. Outside of school, the family would receive tons of hate letters, have garbage dumped on their lawn, and would be shunned by restaurant patrons whenever they would eat out. They were even treated poorly at the church they attended, St. Luke’s United Methodist, where the pastor would have the family sit in the first or last pew so the congregation knew where they were at all times of the service. “He inspired the nation with his fight to live a normal life and his precociously eloquent advocacy of AIDS awareness, which left a legacy of saved and lengthened lives… When he died at 18 in 1990 of complications from AIDS, Ryan was America's kid, the innocent face of a plague that many people until then, had dismissed as being the result of irresponsible or sinful behavior” (Jerome). After being banned from his school, Ryan would fight for the right to return. All he wanted was to continue his life as a normal boy, but he wasn’t given that. Eyes were opened nationwide when

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