Robert Bazell's 1982 AIDS report from NBC

A dear friend of mine sent this to me today in remembrance of where we were 31 years ago.

This video is the first new story created by NBC to discuss the "new and rare form of cancer" that is seemingly affecting homosexuals, however Bazell does comment that it is showing up within heterosexuals too.

1982 was a year that changed the path of medicine, politics, and society in general.  It was the year when...the first computer virus (the Elk Cloner) was discovered after being created by a 15 year old...Canada gained full political independence from the UK...and HIV (while not being called that at the time) started to create a alarm within the CDC.

If you don't know much about the history of HIV/AIDS, I suggest to spend a few moments at your desk and look at the operatic story a virus created world wide.  Back in the day, before it was known as AIDS, it was also known as GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) and/or GCS (Gay Compromise Syndrome).  Why?  Well, that is a question that would take days to answer due to the politics and ignorance of humans and medicine.  However the take away is that it labeled the gay community as being one that carries a 'disease' and helped to create further stigma, discrimination, and homophobia.

As heard in the video from 1982, Bazell reports that the CDC started to look into "the habits of homosexuals for clues" to what this disease is and why is it affecting "certain" people.  It was during this time that the CDC started finding a multitude of cases involving individuals with PCP, Kaposi's, and other opportunistic infections among gay men in New York, Los Angeles and Orange county.  Then in July of 1982, the CDC was hit with 452 cases of the syndrome from 23 states including hemophiliacs and heterosexually identified persons.  It was then that the CDC started to realize that this was NOT a disease that targets homosexuals, instead there was a common link between all these individuals....blood.  It was then in July of 1982 that the CDC renamed the syndrome AIDS to reflect the new information gained from the cases.

However, it is interesting to note that while NBC covered this story in 1982, HIV and/or AIDS did not simply appear out of thin air.  There are documented coroner's reports from around the world  detailing individuals who have died due to very similar complications.  While it is absolutely stupid to think (as many people still do) this virus came from people having sex with monkeys, we can agree on the fact that it did not simply appear out of thin air in the early 80's.

As I sit at my desk writing this post, I reflect on the stories, memories, and tales I have read, heard, and seen about this virus and the impact it had on our shared history as human beings.  This is not a story about homosexuals, drug users, or sex workers.  It is a story about the human race and how, after 31 years, we haven't found a cure, still continue to stigmatize infected individuals, and clash over related politics rather than pulling up our "big boy pants" and being open and honest.  Let's take a moment to talk to our kids about sex, instead of acting like wimps and scared about doing it effectively and correctly.  Let's start promoting REAL sex education in our schools rather an abstinence, which does a tremendous amount of harm and actually is significantly correlated with higher STIs.  And...let's take a stand and say at least once a day, "What the FUCK does it matter is someone is HIV+?  If it bothers you, go in the corner and beat yourself off!"  I guess if I had a manifesto, this would be the beginning of it.

All in all, 31 years is a long time and what do we have to show for it?


Filed under: Sexual Health, US HIV News

Tags: 1982, AIDS, NBC

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