The Full Story of Nancy Reagan and the AIDS Disaster

After all of them sat down, Glaser poured out the story of the previous seven years. Each Reagans had tears of their eyes as she described how Ariel, after months of being unable to stroll or discuss, had lately opened her eyes and mentioned, “Good morning, Mother. I really like you.” Ariel would die seven weeks later, on the age of seven.

That day within the White Home, Nancy, together with her customary directness, turned the dialog in a route that Glaser hadn’t anticipated.

“How is it to your husband?” the primary girl requested.

“It’s horrible,” Glaser answered. “It has been very troublesome for Paul, however he has been exceptional. He’s our hero, and he has stood by us.”

Nancy pressed: “What’s your relationship with him?”

Glaser abruptly started to know what Nancy was getting at. She was startled. This, in spite of everything, was an administration that didn’t even wish to speak about condoms. However she sensed that Nancy was asking out of real sympathy. Glaser instructed her that, sure, she and Paul continued to have a sexual relationship, taking all of the precautions her medical doctors had beneficial, and added: “My husband kisses me and touches me, and he’s actually fairly great.”

A gathering that was purported to have lasted for 20 minutes stretched into an hour. As Glaser and Wick have been on the point of go away, the president’s eyes locked with the distraught mom’s.

“Inform me what you need me to do,” Reagan mentioned.

“I need you to be a frontrunner within the battle towards AIDS, in order that my youngsters, and all youngsters, can go to highschool and proceed to reside invaluable lives; in order that nobody with AIDS want fear about discrimination,” Glaser replied. “Secondly, you may have commissioned a report on the epidemic that’s been written by an exceptional man. I ask you to concentrate to that report.”

Reagan responded, “I promise you that I’ll learn that report with totally different eyes than I might have earlier than.”

The Watkins Fee’s report, launched on June 27, 1988, was unsparing, beginning with its rivalry that there had been a “distinct lack of management” from the federal authorities. “It was a surprising repudiation of nearly each side of the Reagan administration’s dealing with of AIDS, in addition to a sweeping battle plan for a way the nation would possibly address the epidemic in coming years,” Randy Shilts wrote. Amongst its 579 particular suggestions was a name for the administration to drop its opposition to legal guidelines that will forestall discrimination towards individuals who carry HIV; a rise of $3 billion a yr in funding for the combat towards AIDS on the federal, state, and native ranges; complete training concerning the illness, beginning in kindergarten; and a brand new public-health emergency-response system, giving the surgeon basic broad powers.

Regardless of his assurances to Elizabeth Glaser, Reagan took solely modest actions in response to the report and ignored its central suggestions. “Time glided by, and nothing occurred. It was nearly unimaginable, however the White Home took the report and put it on the shelf. Hope for 1000’s of Individuals and other people world wide sat gathering mud in some forgotten nook of some forgotten room,” Glaser wrote later. Glaser had discovered on her journey to Washington that her story may transfer folks. However that meant she needed to sacrifice her privateness—and that of her two HIV-positive youngsters—to get it out. After Ariel died, Elizabeth and a bunch of buddies began the Pediatric AIDS Basis, which went to work placing hundreds of thousands of {dollars} within the fingers of researchers extra rapidly than the federal government appeared able to doing. Round that point, she and her husband received phrase that the Nationwide Enquirer was engaged on a narrative that will reveal their household’s state of affairs; the couple determined to step ahead forward of it, granting an interview to the Los Angeles Instances that was revealed on Friday, August 25, 1989.

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