Ryan White Changes The Peoples Mind

Markel, Howard. “Remembering Ryan White, the teen who fought against the stigma of AIDS.” pbs.org. 8 Apr. 2016.

Dr. Markel Howard is an acclaimed social and cultural historian of medicine, public health, and epidemics. He explains to everyone in this passage what exactly Ryan White did and what changes he made through his time as a spokesman for the epidemic.

“When the nation was still grappling with homophobia, unsubstantiated fears of how the virus was transmitted, and a great deal of prejudice towards a growing number of terribly sick individuals, Ryan White’s case became a national antidote. During this period, Ryan served as an eloquent spokesman about AIDS to his classmates, journalists and, through the wide reach of television, the American public. He valiantly fought against a battalion of bigots who saw AIDS as some kind of divine retribution against gay men and intravenous drug users (two of the largest groups stricken with AIDS during this time). He also demonstrated how the national blood supply needed to be fixed so that every donation was tested for evidence of HIV. AIDS, he declared, is an infectious disease, nothing more, and it had the power to infect and harm any human being unfortunate enough to have contracted it.(para. 7)”

The interesting thing about this is that it touches on the main things that people associate with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It helps the argument that the epidemic has no specific person it hits. It does not discriminate, anyone can be affected and through different ways. Through Ryan White’s story it is evidence of showing that not only gay men or drug users contract this disease, because he is not in either one of these categories.


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