Sunday, June 5, 2016

12th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's death

Former President Ronald Reagan died 12 years ago today. Following is the text of every speech and public comment he made as president on the subject of HIV/AIDS during the first four years that the epidemic raged:



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35th anniversary of the first mention of AIDS

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the first mass media mention of the disease that would come to be known as AIDS. The June 5, 1981, edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), published by the Centers for Disease Control, included an article entitled, "Pneumocystis Pneumonia --- Los Angeles".

The article described the onset of Pneumocystis pneumonia among five gay men over an eight-month period at three different hospitals in Los Angeles.

The enormity of the tragedy that would become the global HIV/AIDS epidemic was not understood at the time and consequently was not even hinted at in the article. It would be only a matter of time, however, before it became clear that over one million people in the United States as well as millions more across the planet were infected. The mortality rate approached 100%, with no effective therapies available for years.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 5, 1981

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Larry Kert, Broadway's original "West Side Story" Tony, passed away 25 years ago today

Larry Kert, the original Tony in Broadway's West Side Story, passed away 25 years ago today of complications from HIV/AIDS.

Kert starred in a number of original Broadway productions, including Cabaret and Company, as well as in the touring companies of several Broadway productions.

The openly gay Kert is best known for having originated the role of romantic lead Tony in the 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story.

The musical, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, was the brainchild of creative team Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Arthur Laurents. Kert became famous for his passionate delivery of songs "Something's Coming", "Maria", and "Tonight". Carol Lawrence starred opposite Kert as Maria.

Kert was survived by his partner Ron Pullen. Both had tested HIV+ in 1985.

• Larry Kert's New York Times obituary

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