AIDS... A Thing to Fear?

Peoples reactions to AIDS in America

Where did it Occur?

Aids occurred all over the world, primarily in Africa, North America, South America, and Europe. America was where most of the affected country when, "The first cases of HIV in the United States date back to 1981. Homosexual men began dying from mysterious, pneumonia-like infections" (Holland).

When did it occur?

"Cases of HIV and AIDS started in America in the early 1980's. However, it is widely accepted that its origins where in southern Africa. America just popularized the disease" (Landau). It started occurring in america in the early 1980's in america.

What happened?

People started getting a rare form of cancer in the early 1980's. Soon after rumors started going around that the only people getting this cancer where white homosexual men. America made everyone fear the AIDS, that made wrongful treatment of people with the disease uncommon. Doctors who blamed the homosexuals for AIDS started "Calling it 'gay compromise syndrome'. Others called it GRID (gay-related immune deficiency), AID (acquired immunodeficiency disease), 'gay cancer' or 'community-acquired immune dysfunction.' (

Who was involved?

Everyone in america knew about AIDS, it was the subject of fear at the time. Gays were a group of people that many identified HIV with. People truly believed that gay people where the cause of AIDS and should be blamed. Many believed the government had something to do with the epidemic, "The experiment was followed by similar hepatitis B experiments using gay men... beginning in March 1980 and ending in October 1981, the same year the epidemic became official." (Cantwell) and (

How did it occur?

People would get AIDS by having sexual intercourse with another. People who got HIV or AIDS noticed that they got it strange flu-like feeling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. this caused panic among the people.

Why did it occur?

It happened because America wanted a scapegoat, so they used the gays. They where thought to be a good choice as a scapegoat because, many religious followers did not agree with same sex intercourse. They used this as an excuse to call AIDS "gay cancer" (Cantwell).

Lawsuits Cases:

~A man in New York was fired from his financing job when his co-worker found out he had AIDS. "Since he learned he had the virus about five years ago, Villacampa said he previously had two employers who knew he was HIV-positive and had 'no issue' with that fact" (Kim).

This mans co-worker had a fear of getting aids and earning a bad name for the company for having a man with aids, so he told his boss. His boss must have felt the same way about the man with HIV if he fired him. I felt a connected to The Crucible because, no one wanted to associate with witches. People with AIDS in our society and witches in the book both had a bad name.
~An AIDS organization center was denied a housing center for HIV-positive people. "The Center applied for a license to expand its current facilities to include emergency housing units for 24 clients but was denied the license on May 29" (

A landlord refuse to give housing for an aids center. This event really showed how judgmental and rude the landlord was to a helpful AIDS association. In The Crucible people would be prosecuted for being witches without any actual evidence. They would then be the ostracized by Salem.

The Crucible:

In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, we learn that in states of fear and
confusion many will choose to put others at risk then themselves. Fear
is part of human nature, so it is natural to stay away from things you fear.

"He sentenced her. He must-But not Sarah Good. For Sarah Good confessed, y‘see...That she sometimes made a compact with Lucifer, and wrote her name in his black book—with her blood—and bound herself to torment Christians till God‘s thrown down… and we all must worship Hell forevermore" (Miller, 23). In this quote Mary Warren talks about Sarah's confession. When Sarah confessed, people then was her as the work of the devil. This what happened to gay people during the AIDS epidemic. Both in the book and life, people wrongly accused each other out of fear and confusion.

"In the proper place—where my beasts are

bedded. Eight months now, sir, it is eight months. She used to serve me in my house,

sir. A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything. I know it now. I beg you, sir,

I beg you—see her for what she is. My wife, my dear good wife took this girl soon after,

sir, and put her out on the high road. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir….

Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. She thinks to dance with me on my wife‘s grave! And well she might!—for I thought of her softly, God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat! But it is a whore‘s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands, I know you must see it now. My wife is innocent, except she know a whore when she sees one" (Miller, 68) This quote reminded me of people accusing others of having AIDS, The people that where accused of having AIDS had to prove that they didn't. In the quote, Elizabeth was named a witch so Procter was trying to clear her name after the wrong accusations.

"I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand—I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Good Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil" (Miller, 20). In this quote, you see Abigail blaming others so she won't get in trouble. She doesn't care if the others get in trouble for something they did not commit. This parallels to the the AIDS epidemic because, everyone was willing to blame gay people, even if it caused them to become singled out by society.

Looking back at the time of The Crucible and now, it's safe to say that in times of fear we forget who our friends and do almost anything to be safe and way from harm. Whether its shunning the people or blaming others, it has always been the same.


Holland, Kimberly. "The History of HIV." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

Cantwell, Alan. "The Secret Origins of AIDS: Facts, Fallacies & Conspiracy Theories." New Dawn The Worlds Most Unusual Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

Kim, Susanna. "New York Man Says He Was Fired For Having HIV." ABC News. ABC News Network, 04 Apr. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

"New Jersey AIDS Group Files Discrimination Complaint (9674)." N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

Cantwell, Alan. "'Gay Cancer' & The Man-Made Origin Of AIDS." 'Gay Cancer' & The Man-Made Origin Of AIDS. N.p., 5 June 2006. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Viking, 1953. Print.

Landau, Elizabeth. "HIV in the '80s: 'People Didn't Want to Kiss You on the Cheek'" CNN. Cable News Network, 25 May 2011. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

Hoyle, Brian. "AIDS." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Student Resources in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.