This is an excerpt from an article by Peter Staley that first appeared on POZ.com here.
Compare and contrast: Ebola vs. AIDS, Obama vs. Reagan. Anyone who continues to defend President Reagan's response to AIDS is ignoring a history of gross negligence compared with the response to other disease outbreaks in the U.S.
Here's the first time President Obama's press secretary was asked about Ebola, on July 30, 2014. Ebola had yet to reach U.S. shores, but two Christian aid workers from America had become infected in Liberia.
Q: Is the President being briefed on the Ebola outbreak in Africa? And will it be addressed at the Africa summit and/or alter the Africa summit in any way?
MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, we continue -- well, no, it will not alter the summit, but we do continue to monitor the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea, in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria closely. The President is indeed receiving regular updates, including speaking with his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco as early as yesterday before departing Washington.
The U.S. government, including the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, USAID and the Department of Defense, continue to provide a range of support and assistance to those countries and multinational organizations responding to the outbreak.
This includes the provision of personal protective equipment and other essential supplies, public health messaging and technical expertise. We've actually been engaged in this outbreak since March.
The press waited until Oct. 15 , 1982 -- 17 months after the first reported AIDS cases -- to ask President Reagan's press secretary about the "gay plague." By that time, there had been 593 reported cases in the U.S., and 243 deaths.
Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement -- the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?
To read the response and the rest of the article go here.
About the author: Peter Staley: AIDS and gay rights activist; Founder & Advisory Editor, AIDSmeds