AIDS Awareness

Published: 1985
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Washington: President Reagan and actress Elizabeth Taylor wipe perspiration from their faces during a fund raising dinner 5/31/1987 for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Reagan, the keynote speaker, announced plans for mandatory AIDS testing where possible. (Doug Mills/UPI Photo)

"(Crowd noises.)"

Dennis Daly: The sound of angry parents protesting a decision by the Queens, New York school system to allow an unnamed second-grader with AIDS to attain regular classes. The parents staged a boycott for a while, keeping their own kids away from class …

Unknown Speaker: "This is jeopardizing the welfare of all the children, not just a few."

Unknown Speaker: "The City is taking away our rights, our right to decide what's best for our children, and that's basically what the issue is."

Dennis Daly: AIDS had quickly become the preeminent health issue of 1985. Its presence among us was hammered home when a Paris hospital made this announcement …

Unknown Speaker: "Mr. Rock Hudson has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome."

Dennis Daly: The world watched Rock Hudson die a quickly degenerative death. Support for AIDS research gathered steam with the revelation of Hudson's ailment.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, who helped to organize an AIDS fundraiser …

Elizabeth Taylor: "I think it really can help not just to the entertainment industry, but to all of America, because Rock is a household word."

Dennis Daly: During this past year, the military announced AIDS testing, first for all recruits, then for all personnel.

Not since the bond drives and USO shows of the Second World War had American musicians worked so hard together for causes and fundraising drives as they did in 1985. There were two major concerts, and UPI Radio's Jenny Cassolla visited both of them …

"(Crowd noises.)"

Jenny Cassolla: "July 13th, 1985, tens of thousands of people gathered in Philadelphia and London for Live Aid. Many of the world's most popular music stars performed in the two mega-concerts to raise money for African famine victims."

"(Willie Nelson singing 'On The Road Again'.)"

Jenny Cassolla: "In September, country music star Willie Nelson organized another mega-concert to benefit America's farmers. It was called Farm Aid, and Nelson said its purpose was to heighten the public's awareness of the nation's farm crisis.

"This is Jenny Cassolla."