In 1988 there were 2,974 new cases of AIDS and 1,430 deaths. It was hard for a lot of people to get things like treatment and medication. People were given confidentiality taking the tests anonymously, but even that didn’t prevent discrimination on certain groups. Doctors were debating whether or not they had a moral obligation to treat AIDS patients and nurses refused to take food to hospitalized patients [AIDS in the ’80s: The rise of a new civil rights movement]. Between the 1970s and 1980s at the height of HIV/AIDS crisis victims of HIV/AIDS were experiencing discrimination when seeking medical help in the US specifically I will be focusing on how children, women, and minorities were treated.
Children during the 1970s and 1980s were subjected to being outed at school. Children were being rejected from attending school just because they had AIDS. In 1989 children were given AZT. AZT was an anti-AIDS drug; adults paid $6,500 a year for AZT it was a very expensive drug. Families didn’t have Medicaid, so it made affording AZT questionable. The drug was founded in 1986, and it took three years for them to allow children with AIDS to use the drug as well. There has been no therapy for hundreds of children with AIDS; the AZT is the first thing that children had gotten that could help prolong their lives. [AIDS Children To Be Given AZT For the First Time]. Critics believe that the placebo which is used to prolong lives shouldn’t be given to children at all. Children will be receiving innocuous fluid, while others recurred gamma globulin, which is an anti body rich derivative of human plasma thought to boost the underdeveloped immune systems and protect against bacterial infections in some cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome [Cries of fear and outrage dramatize NY fight against AIDS in the young]. Parents were very upset that there was nothing they could do to help their children, it was agonizing to watch their children slowly die.
Women, on the other hand, were able to get treatment except they were dying faster. Studies had shown that women were sicker and dying faster than men. Women, adolescents and minorities were at high risk for AIDS in 1997 in the US. Women with AIDS are often misdiagnosed, deprived of medication denied disability and dying because the federal did not include the infections they had a deadly disease. In 1990 there were more than 154,000 AIDS cases, more than 15,000 of them were women. If a formal diagnosis isn’t given, then they are denied multiple benefits such as Social security benefits. Access to clinical drug tests, public health services which include free supplies of AZT. It was difficult to define AIDS for women because the early symptoms women get are different from those of men and are only shown from poor black heterosexuals, partners of drug addicts and addicts themselves. The CDC was very hesitant to make changes to the definition due to the lack of evidence and also because they were unsure if the symptom was a symptom of AIDS of if they just had a different disease [Women with AIDS often undiagnosed, activists say].
Minorities during the 1970s and 1980s believed that AIDS was a “white people” thing only and it wasn’t possible for them to catch it too. Just a few AIDS patients received Medicaid as well as other benefits even if they were eligible to receive the benefits. AIDS patients would only receive about $225 a month from benefits and Medicaid pays for all medical expenses, but because a large number of minorities didn’t know how to apply, they never got these benefits. Patients were also in denial and paranoid about AIDS. [Hiding From A Killer]. It wasn’t only that they were black which is why they refused treatment if they were black and gay they received even worse treatment from all the different social groups including the medical care workers.
Medical workers could have done a better job to attempt to treat people regardless of their social class. Their job is to help people not discriminate against them, and it is essential that we understand that the treatment of victims should be treated better as well as how we can improve the attitudes of healthcare workers. It is clear that other groups besides children, women, and minorities were discriminated but these groups are mentioned a lot throughout the 1970s and 1980s besides people from the LGBT.
It should be made sure that healthcare workers understand what they are dealing with and how to deal with it appropriately. This was a time where people needed even the slightest of reassurance instead of being ignored. Instead what they could have done was at least attempt to talk to them they weren’t sure how spreadable the disease was to others. Communication is an important part of the healthcare workers’ job.