“Thank God for Ryan White”
The TV droned in the background, a nuisance to me, but not my home, so there we were. One of the men was talking about getting a new dresser for his room, when a commercial about pharmaceutical companies suggested a tangent. He told us that his medications cost seven hundred dollars a month. “Thank God for Ryan White!” He spoke his blessing sincerely, this middle-aged man with AIDS. He shook his head.
Thank God for Ryan White. I remember Ryan White, his life, the injustices that fear fanned into outrageous proportions. At the time I was not a yet a mother myself, but it is his mother I always hold in my heart when I hear his name now. How hellish was her life then? Heart-sick and afraid for her child, the uncertainly of AIDS was hard enough to shoulder. She and her family were burdened further with the public outcry against her son, a ragged, angry clamor born of ignorance, intolerance and fear, fear, FEAR.
In 1990, The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was signed into law just months after Ryan White died. Reauthorized in 1996, 2000 and 2006, this legislation provides billions of dollars of assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS.
So now, in 2012, folks are still thanking God for Ryan White. Would somebody please let his mother know?