President Ronald Reagan and his administration have traditionally been considered slow to respond to the AIDS pandemic. Reagan did not in fact mention the word AIDS until September 1985, when he responded to reporters’ questions. His first speech about the disease was delivered to the College of Physicians in Philadelphia in 1987.
“The worst part of it was going to hospitals and going to people’s homes and doing what you could do, then going home and turning on the news and seeing a president who would not fucking say the word AIDS in public. We have a public health crisis and at the very top levels of our government the president of the United States refused to acknowledge it. He deferred to the religious right – this is God’s punishment.”
David Garner, May 6, 2019