Digital Repository


In a few short years, the mysterious disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), reached epidemic proportions with a mortality rate nearing 100 percent. Highly politicized debates raged about how the disease spread and the degree of contagiousness. President Reagan did not speak publicly about AIDS until the 1985 death of actor and friend, Rock Hudson. Reagan then asked Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop to prepare a major report on AIDS. The report, released in October, 1986, won Reagan respect from many activists by clearly stating means of avoiding infection, rebutting myths, and promoting public education for adolescents and adults.