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by Tommy Marx

18 Jun 2009

In 1981, five gay men in Los Angeles suffered from an unknown disease that the press labeled GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention referred to as the “4H Disease” because it seemed to target Haitians, hemophiliacs, homosexuals and heroin users.

By May 3, 1986, the disease had long since become known as AIDS, but was still the subject of much controversy and even more misconceptions. It would be another year before Ronald Reagan would even publicly acknowledge the disease (even though by May 31, 1987, more than 20,000 Americans had died from AIDS).

It’s interesting that a pop-rock group from England would decide to release a single pointedly attacking the anti-gay hatred fueled by the disease, but even more intriguing that the song became a major hit.

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