Similar Experiences Between HIV Crisis and the Covid Pandemic

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In the ACT UP movement, resistance meant the refusal to accept the lack of care for AIDS/HIV patients and the discrepancies they were facing. They showed resistance with acts of civil disobedience, using vocal and visual demonstrations, paired with admirable dedication to their cause, to focus attention on critical issues regarding the AIDS crisis.

There are many similarities between this epidemic and pandemic, but there are a vast amount of differences as well. The most resounding difference, In my opinion, is that the pandemic, even in its earlier stages, received more attention than all of the HIV epidemic did in the span of 10 years. I believe that the reason why there is much more focus- and money going towards the pandemic is because with COVID-19, everyone could be affected, unlike the HIV epidemic where most of the patients are drug addicts,POC,and gay men. The truth is that the government simply doesn't care as much when a marginalized group is affected. Another possible explanation for the difference in funding is that the Government put more focus on the COVID-19 pandemic is that this country has a blueprint for how to fight a virus, and many of the precautions taken during the HIV crisis are similar in nature to the ones taken with COVID-19, such as wearing protection ( In the COVID-19 case ‘protection’ means masks, and in the HIV one, ‘protection’ means condoms) and going in to quarantine.

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Both in the AIDS crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a vast amount of inequality, according to the United nations, “Older persons, persons with chronic illness and persons with disabilities face particular, disproportionate risks, and require an all-out effort to save their lives and protect their future. This is our time to stand up for the vulnerable.” Ironically, some of the people who could be affected by the virus do not have the means to take proper precautions- such as wearing masks, 0r quarentining. This was also the case with the AIDS epidemic, some people affected by it have a vast amount of roadblocks preventing them from receiving help/preventing contact with the AIDS virus. I believe that this shows us that to create a more “just” society we need to give people equal access to healthcare and education in regards to these issues.

There was a plentitude of lessons learned from the HIV epidemic that can be applied to the COVID-19 one, perhaps the biggest one being that HIV served as a sort of test run as to how the government should handle infectious disease outbreaks. Because of the similarities between the two, those lessons are even more relevant now than ever.

COVID-19 is not the world's first pandemic, and the US owes its response to the lessons it learned from AIDS. Tony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House's coronavirus task force, thinks about that everyday when thinking about how fast he can push the vaccine trials but still be sure they're of good scientific quality. The people leading the vaccine efforts for COVID, including Dr. Fauci, learned from the HIV outbreak and used their knowledge and experience from that to be better with COVID-19.

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