The Reagan Administration, The U.s. Government

1498 WordsMay 17, 20166 Pages
The Reagan administration, the U.S. government, and newspapers remained complete silence when the situation had already gone out of control. President Reagan and the government cut the research budget for AIDS when scientists and doctors desperately needed it. Before Reagan’s election to office, the Carter administration had held a tight line on health spending. However, President Reagan’s plan for the Centers for Disease Control worsened the situation. The executive Office of Management and Budget wanted to cut the Carter budget’s recommended $327 million in CDC funding to $161 million,less than half of what it had been (Shilts). More ironically, between June 1981 and May 1982, the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS and $9 million on…show more content…
For instance, majority leader Jerry Falwell infamously declared that AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases were “a definite form of the judgment of God upon a society” (Timberg). Reagan needed the support of these Republicans; therefore, his own opinions were not as important. More and more criticism fell upon Reagan, as he not only cut the budgets, but also remained silent for five years after the first diagnosis in 1981. In addition to cutting back research budgets, the Reagan administration also shied away from the issue, despite the fact that it had impacted most of the large cities in the country. On June 5, 1981, the first year of Reagan’s presidency, the CDC published its first report on AIDS (Timeline). However, Reagan did not mention the epidemic until more than five years later. On September 17, 1985, Reagan mentioned AIDS publicly for the first time. Yet, by the time he had delivered his first speech on the epidemic, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease, and 20,849 had died (Shilts). In addition, in the speech of 1985, he did not mention the word “AIDS” or relate the deadly disease to the gay community, which included some of the most courageous fighters and suffered from the greatest number of deaths (Shilts). As Larry Kramer recalled, “There was talk about hemophiliacs who got AIDS, transfusion recipients, and the spouses of intravenous drug abusers, but the G-word was never
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