AIDS was (and continues to to be) one of the most influential crises the United States has ever weathered. The disease took thousands of lives, tainted political legacies, inspired numerous works of art, literature, drama and film, and catalyzed new techniques for political, medical, and social mobilization. It was met with hysteria and bigotry by some and dignity and strength by others. Its history and impact are far too vast to be covered in five thousand words.
Despite this, the following project attempts to highlight some of the key legacies of the AIDS crisis and give readers an insight into the way it shaped our country and society. I’ve broken the analysis into five sections: the first gives a broad overview of the disease’s impact within the United States, the second analyzes a primary source from the height of the crisis, the third analyzes the crisis in light of the course themes from David Hecht’s “Imagining Disaster” course, and the fourth and fifth sections examine two different pieces of AIDS’ lasting political legacies.
(Pictured Above) Artist and Activist David Wojnarowicz, who, a few months prior to dying of AIDS, sewed his mouth shut in protest of the Reagan Administration’s silence surrounding the disease.