Reactions to AIDS
Unfortunately, for a long time people that were infected with the HIV/AIDS virus were looked upon as individuals who had brought the disease upon themselves. This made these people marginalized and stigmatized citizens in the United States. It often affected their work, education and social life. In 1986, the state of Florida passed a law that made it so an employee that was infected with the virus would be treated as any other handicapped person in terms of hiring and termination. This helped reduce some of the discrimination in the workplace. Florida also ensured that children did not have to disclose if they were HIV positive to the school. This helped the victims against persecution by others. The government also started to realize that it was very important to educate the public about this disease. In order to do this they created brochures, pamphlets and public service announcements. This education often started in the adolescent years, which can be seen by child and teenage targeted pamphlets, such as the 101 Ways to Make Love without Having Sex Pamphlet. The victims who knew they were infected with the disease also had different reactions to their situation. Some people decided to keep their disease a secret. This made it so they were not stigmatized within society, but it also could prove a problem if they did not let their sexual partners know about their disease. Others with the disease decided to join groups that provided support (such as the Tampa AIDS Network) or groups that raised money for AIDS research. Still others took their experience one step further by becoming mentors for the youth of America. This involved the mentors telling how the life path that they chose led them to the disease. They would often talk openly of how a person could try to prevent getting the disease (seen in the “Another Brother: Story of the Vietnam Veteran”).