The Full Story of Nancy Reagan and the AIDS Crisis

After they all took a seat, Glaser put out the story of the previous 7 years. Both Reagans had tears in their eyes as she explained how Ariel, after months of being not able to stroll or talk, had actually just recently opened her eyes and stated, “Good morning, Mom. I love you.” Ariel would pass away 7 weeks later on, at the age of 7.

That day in the White Home, Nancy, with her popular directness, turned the discussion in an instructions that Glaser hadn’t prepared for.

“How is it for your husband?” the very first woman asked.

“It’s horrible,” Glaser addressed. “It has been very difficult for Paul, but he has been remarkable. He is our hero, and he has stood by us.”

Nancy pushed: “What is your relationship with him?”

Glaser all of a sudden started to comprehend what Nancy was getting at. She was surprised. This, after all, was an administration that didn’t even wish to discuss prophylactics. However she picked up that Nancy was asking out of real compassion. Glaser informed her that, yes, she and Paul continued to have a sexual relationship, taking all the preventative measures her physicians had actually suggested, and included: “My husband kisses me and touches me, and he is really quite wonderful.”

A conference that was expected to have actually lasted for 20 minutes extended into an hour. As Glaser and Wick were preparing to leave, the president’s eyes locked with the troubled mom’s.

“Tell me what you want me to do,” Reagan stated.

“I want you to be a leader in the struggle against AIDS, so that my children, and all children, can go to school and continue to live valuable lives; so that no one with AIDS need worry about discrimination,” Glaser responded. “Secondly, you have commissioned a report on the epidemic that’s been written by a phenomenal man. I ask you to pay attention to that report.”

Reagan reacted, “I promise you that I will read that report with different eyes than I would have before.”

The Watkins Commission’s report, launched on June 27, 1988, was unsparing, beginning with its contention that there had actually been a “distinct lack of leadership” from the federal government. “It was a stunning repudiation of just about every aspect of the Reagan administration’s handling of AIDS, as well as a sweeping battle plan for how the nation might cope with the epidemic in coming years,” Randy Shilts composed. Amongst its 579 particular suggestions was a require the administration to drop its opposition to laws that would avoid discrimination versus individuals who bring HIV; a boost of $3 billion a year in financing for the battle versus HELP at the federal, state, and regional levels; thorough education about the illness, beginning in kindergarten; and a brand-new public-health emergency-response system, offering the cosmetic surgeon basic broad powers.

Regardless of his guarantees to Elizabeth Glaser, Reagan took just modest actions in action to the report and neglected its main suggestions. “Time went by, and nothing happened. It was almost unimaginable, but the White House took the report and put it on the shelf. Hope for thousands of Americans and people around the world sat gathering dust in some forgotten corner of some forgotten room,” Glaser composed later on. Glaser had actually discovered on her journey to Washington that her story might move individuals. However that indicated she needed to compromise her personal privacy—which of her 2 HIV-positive kids—to get it out. After Ariel passed away, Elizabeth and a group of pals began the Pediatric AIDS Structure, which went to work putting countless dollars in the hands of scientists faster than the federal government appeared efficient in doing. Around that time, she and her other half got word that the National Enquirer was dealing with a story that would expose their household’s scenario; the couple chose to advance ahead of it, approving an interview to the Los Angeles Times that was released on Friday, August 25, 1989.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.