AIDS Night in America, 1985. That was the hot summer night most of America sat in front of the news and learned about the new terror threatening to kill more Americans having sex than Jason in a hockey mask on Friday the 13th.
July 25, 1985. That’s when most of America first heard about AIDS and the most famous person dying of “the deadly disease” to date. What people saw on TV was actor Rock Hudson, the formerly virile leading man thought to be straight, fading away by the second. What people thought in their minds was: oh, fuck. Who have I slept with in the last 10 years and am I gonna end up like Rock?
“Who needs to acquire a disease, manageable or otherwise?”
Young America was scared shitless. The era of free love was officially over. The news stunned a nation, a Sexual 9/11 no one could ignore. Coverage of AIDS was endless for months.
Kids, go ask your parents! Really! Go talk about it with them. Ask them what it was like hearing that they could die from sex. Parents, share it with your horny teenagers, and the younger siblings who look up to them. Share with them how horrifying it felt hearing scientists tell the world, “there’s not much we know or can do about this virus right now, but we do know it’s sexually transmitted.”
80s babies: ask older people how it felt getting that wake-up call. America: remember the sexual terror, talk about it honestly and openly. Why? Then maybe, just maybe, America can begin to get a grip on the AIDS Epidemic Part 2, happening this very moment all over the United States.
It’s happening again, in part, because a new generation has grown up clueless about safe sex and the consequences of not having it. AIDS is still around. Sure some now call it a manageable disease, but ignorance abounds, and infection rates are highest among young men and women, especially those of color.
Who needs to acquire a disease, manageable or otherwise?
America needs to deal with AIDS, only this time armed with two decades-plus of knowledge, experience and information. So, kids, parents, America: get with the program, and start by checking out the AIDS Monster Movie Marathon, a story told backwards in a car driving forward.
The alternative is a future going back to the past.
• Scenes from the AIDS Monster Movie Marathon: